It’s a new world. With Y2K put to rest, expansive amounts of time and energy are now being redirected towards the future. But where, exactly, will that time and energy go? What will be the top issues of 2000? Our perceptive TechRepublic editors have put together a list of what we believe to be the 20 top areas of interest for IT professionals in the coming year.

You can be sure that during the coming year we’ll be writing about all of these topics extensively. But we’re relying on you to help provide answers to these questions, and to fill in any holes we might have missed in our top twenty list.
Here’s our list of the top IT issues for 2000. Did we hit the mark? What are your top priorities for the coming year? Send us an e-mail or post a comment at the bottom of the page.
1. E-commerce

  • How do you work with senior management to develop the right e-commerce strategy?
  • Which technology platform will you choose?
  • Should you outsource your development efforts?
  • How do you integrate your e-commerce initiative with your existing infrastructure?

2. Vendor relationships

  • Can your vendor really be your partner?
  • How will implementing a Supply Chain Management system affect your vendor relationships?
  • Do you deal with a limited number of hardware vendors, or adopt “best of breed” relationships with a larger number of vendors?

3. Customer relationships

  • How can you track and respond to customer e-mail?
  • How can you identify your most profitable customers, as opposed to those who buy the most from you?
  • Is it possible to truly integrate all your customer contacts (voice, e-mail and print) in a single CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system?

4. Employee relationships

  • How can you build IT staff loyalty?
  • What are some retention ideas that actually work?
  • How do you groom future managers?

5. Training issues

  • What are the certifications your staff will need this year?
  • Which CBT (Computer Based Training) systems are worth looking at?
  • How do you pick the right training center for your needs?

6. Data centers

  • What kind of storage options do you have?
  • How do you keep the data accessible to the company while keeping it secure from the outside?
  • What reporting tools can you use to manage your data center operations?

7. Security

  • What are the latest firewall developments?
  • How do you keep your network secure while providing access to a growing number of remote users?
  • How can you keep your e-mail servers secure?

8. Asset management

  • How can you make buy/lease decisions in today’s environment?
  • How will ASPs (Application Service Providers) affect your decision-making process?
  • How can you track your IT hardware and software assets?

9. Outsourcing

  • How can you manage multiple outsourcing partnerships?
  • How do you decide the length of your agreements?
  • How do you terminate an outsourcing agreement that turns sour?

10. Risk-taking among leaders

  • How can you convince your CIO to take the plunge with a new technology?
  • 11. Project leadership

    • How can you keep your development projects on time and on budget?
    • What are the best project management tools to use?
    • How can you build effective product teams across locations and across departments?

    12. Network issues

    • How can you get the bandwidth you need, and manage it effectively?
    • Is wireless LAN access a viable option for you?

    13. Crisis management

    • Can you turn your Y2K contingency planning into a natural disaster plan?
    • How often should you evaluate your off-site storage options?

    14. Cross-platform technologies

    • What does all the hype over XML mean to your company?
    • How can you move your EDI system to the Web?
    • Is Java fast enough and secure enough for your custom applications?

    15. New technologies

    • Will your next PBX be an NT-based communications server?
    • What will the emerging handheld-applications bonanza mean for your sales reps?

    16. Enterprise applications

    • Should you consider moving your ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) apps to an ASP?
    • How do you evaluate the various supply chain vendors?

    17. Mergers and acquisitions

    • How can you keep your staff productive during a merger?
    • How do you help integrate the widely varying technologies of a corporate merger?
    • How do you stay focused during a corporate merger?

    18. Change management

    • How do you stay flexible for new challenges, and still keep existing projects on track?
    • How do you lead your staff through any sort of change?
    • How can you learn to anticipate user needs, and change to meet those needs?

    19. New marketing rules

    • How can you help sales and marketing use technology to meet their goals?
    • What’s the best sales management system for your company?

    20. Support

    • How many support techs will you need?
    • When should you outsource your help desk operations?
    • Can Web-based support systems reduce the need for desktop support calls?

    To make sure that we cover the topics that are important to you, we need your input. Please tell us if we’ve missed any issues that you feel are vital. You can post a comment below or drop us a note.