This was originally one entry; one big, long entry. But I am always put off by entries that require me to use the mouse wheel to fully read. So I've split this into a series of 4 entries, which I'll toss out individually over the course of next week.
But this is something that I've been thinking a lot about lately. What 3 services do I think would be the most useful new developments to come out of ITS. ("New" developments as opposed to fixing stuff that's already wrong i.e. my disdain for our webmail interface is well known; unfortunately, stuff like that never seems to get redone because the grand cosmic checklist of services offered has that one line item checked off and the grand-cosmic checklist only checks for presence not quality.)
Not too long ago, I would have said an IM server would be my #1. That was before Google Talk. Now, I fear that the IM space is going to undergo rapid progress, rapid changes, and rapid evolution. Google is in it and whipping out standards. And if they are coming out of Google, you would expect Google would support them (which would also mean these standards would automatically get supported in jabberd). And if they get supported in one place, AIM, MSN, and Yahoo will be quick to implement them, too. This means things are going to happen fast. **FAST** I don't see any vendor (outside of actually using the same code base as Google) being able to keep up with the pace the features are going to start rolling out with from the major IM vendors. I am starting to doubt the wisdom of deploying something like Microsoft's Live Communications Server 2005. The development on it would always lag behind. This arena is in a process of churning and changing (just read the Google Talk blog). And if you do install MS Live Communications Server, you are going to end up a half-dozen or so features behind the major IM players. And when you approach your MS rep to ask when are those new features going to be available in your IM server's product upgrade cycle, you will hear constant neighings of "oh in the next quarter." I would either stay out of the arena until it calms down.
So an IM server is not at the top of my list. What would be on the top of your list?