I think the biggest winners [of 2006] are the CIO and line of business buyer, and their users. From the buying standpoint, there is an unprecedented amount of great technology available at very competitive prices, and many if not most companies have the budget to buy these new solutions. From the end user standpoint, enterprise software has become much more functional and more usable as well.
A winner in the product category is SAP's Duet and, when it becomes available, Microsoft's Office Business Applications technology. Both promise an important quantity of enterprise software functionality based on the familiar MS Office paradigm, and offer an unprecedented win/win for user and vendor.
From our Apple in the Enterprise columnist, John Welch:
Without a doubt, Parallels. They've been on an upgrade schedule from hell, and the results have been impressive.
While VMWare gradually extends its infrastructure into place for Mac OS X support, Parallels has been helping people get work done in a reliable, efficient, and pretty inexpensive manner. If I had one wish, it wouldn't be for support for 3-D and games, but rather the ability to run multiple Mac OS X Server sessions on an Intel Xserve. Still, I've rarely had a product so relentlessly impress and please me.
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Microsoft. While their size and market share will bail them out, in terms of getting work done, Microsoft has been the single biggest stumbling block. Note that I'm not talking about the Mac Business Unit and any delays in Office 12 for Mac OS X. That's not even close to an issue for 2006.
I'm talking about how my Microsoft servers still require far too much personal attention, and a permanent (for the foreseeable future), rotating weekend server reboot day, just to deal with patch applications. Also, Im not fond of the continual, meaningless "interop" announcements with Sun and now Novell that always work out to mean "They'll do all the work so we can claim interoperability." That's not a partnership by any definition I'd use.
The last straw for me this year was finding out that we can't upgrade to Exchange 2007 anytime soon because Microsoft made the very odd decision to not support Public Folder access in Outlook Web Access. So instead of upgrading to current server software, we're upgrading to what will soon be a 4-year old groupware server. I'll close out this by saying that no one is happy that there are six different versions of Vista.