To Microsoft, .NET is a strategic initiative to make its applications (and those from other vendors) more accessible over the Web. But to many Microsoft customers, .NET is just plain confusing -- and nothing they're planning to jump into anytime soon.
According to the results of a recent TechTarget survey, less than 10% of 950 respondents said they understand Microsoft's .NET initiative. Fewer than a third said it is even somewhat critical to their companies' IT strategies over the next three years. And more than half said they have no plans to deploy it in the enterprise at all.
Jim Voorhees, senior systems analyst at Indus Corp., understands that .NET is Microsoft's attempt "to transform its products, making them work in a Web services environment. But the meaning of the term 'Web services' itself is unclear," he said. "Microsoft compounds the confusion by using '.NET' both to describe its initiative and as the suffix for its next round of products. How many of the changes in Windows.NET have to do with .NET, and how many stem from other factors?"
David Robinson, director of Information Technology and computer programs at Pioneer Pacific College isn't sure if even the people at Microsoft understand it. For the college, he said, .NET technology is "of only theoretical interest," in part because of concerns about how secure .NET will be against hackers.
Others, like Gary Dom, a PC LAN specialist with Sutter Health, a Sacramento, Calif.-based health care provider, are "just moving forward on implementing Active Directory and Windows 2000, so .NET is something that's off somewhere on the distant horizon." Dom expects to wait at least a year to tackle .NET "to let all the major bugs get worked out."
".NET is still fairly new as far as we're concerned," said Eric Willemstein, systems implementation manager at Fascor Inc. The software vendor will eventually convert its applications to run in the .NET environment, but for now is focused on fine-tuning new versions of its warehouse management and logistics applications. Moving to .NET is "something that could be 18 or 24 months out, or even a little longer."
Even some of the 20% of respondents who are moving more aggressively on .NET aren't exactly clear on what it will mean for them. The city of Garland, Texas is evaluating the .NET framework to help it make city services more easily available over the Web, said network administrator Peter Schuelke. But even he said, "I wouldn't say I understand it real well. Hopefully, I have sort of a feeling for the philosophy behind it."
This story originally appeared on SearchWindows2000, a TechTarget windows-specific portal for IT professionals.
About the Author:
Robert L. Scheier is a former technology editor at Computerworld, analyst with the Hurwitz Group, and is now a freelance writer and editorial consultant in Boylston, Mass. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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