Why the downturn is great for IT

It’s easy to let the good times roll. Recognise these bull market phrases? ‘I’ve gone this far, so what the…’, ‘One for the road’, and ‘Anything else for you today?’.

In times of plenty, IT departments find it hard to say no. In some cases, hardware procurement is driven by a heady mix of Moore’s Law and IT’s seemingly unstoppable march through the enterprise. Why hold on for a better deal from your vendor tomorrow, when today’s IT kit already looks outdated and your future processing needs will only ever increase?

Software vendors add ‘extras’ and cut ‘special bundle deals’ and nobody really asks too many questions about shelfware – especially when annual IT budgets ‘flush’ at the end of the year. In the ‘fat years’ this is undetected and in fact (as no packaging gets shipped), literally nowhere to be seen and undetectable. Except on spreadsheets and as bloatware on neglected hard drives waiting for a license key to activation which will never come.

Computer Economics figures on 2009 operational IT spend

Computer Economics figures on 2009 operational IT spend

December 2008 may have been the last time that ever happens (see Computer Economics data above). Despite the current row about how much the UK (and most European) government spending needs to be cut, it is tough to sober up to the reality that IT budgets may never ‘recover’ to previous levels. So the fight for the share of what is there is the opportunity to chase.

It is not all bad news though, with increased redundancies comes a freeing up of talent. Some US software execs I know are viewing this as a great opportunity to ‘upskill’ their teams and replace ‘B players’ with ‘A players’ who need a job. Cynical or smart? One thing is for sure, there will be fewer ‘tyre kicking’ job interviews and keener applicants.

In productivity terms, if the workplace is quiet, those hard-to-get-to tasks finally get done. My former PR agency boss, announced to the world this week that he was ‘finally getting to play with this Twitter thing.’ So here are 10 reasons for IT to rejoice in the downturn.

  1. IT purchasing will become smarter
  2. Shelfware becomes criminal
  3. Management teams ‘upgrade’ their talent
  4. Transaction performance becomes a CIO agenda item
  5. Cloud computing may move beyond all the hype
  6. The competition steals less of your staff
  7. Job applicants get serious
  8. More consultants with fresher ideas become available
  9. User feedback gets listened to carefully
  10. It is a great time to trial new technologies for free

If you are looking for a silver lining, let’s discuss the maturing of the IT marketplace. Interested in your thoughts and comments either here or directly via pmaher@positivemarketing.org.


One response to “Why the downturn is great for IT

  1. Pingback: Does Software crush creativity? « Being Positive

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