What Goes Down Must Come Up
It’s the reverse of the old Blood Sweat and Tears Song, “What Goes Up, Must Come Down.” With a technology-savvy president in the White House, what’s gone down is sure to come up. It’s no news flash that our economy is suffering. President Obama has called the economic situation in the U.S. a "crisis unlike any we have seen in our lifetime.”
Until a few months ago, the IT industry has been relatively spared of the downturn’s worst effects: downsizing and layoffs. But that’s all changed as IT industry leaders like Microsoft and global business powerhouses like Caterpillar have announced layoffs. When will things turnaround? Not even a crystal ball could help answer exactly when we’ll see the upswing in our economy. All signs indicate that we’re going to be in the recession business for a while. So in the meantime, the IT industry should expect the highest levels of scrutiny with every business decision and technology investment made.
In terms of leadership, the U.S. seems determined to maintain its position at the forefront of IT innovation and growth. President Obama has indicated that technology is the kind of enabler of change his administration will rely upon as well as a worthwhile investment in its own right. The economic stimulus plan will not yield big results for any industry overnight or even over the year ahead. However, the stimulus package will spur positive market changes that over time will positively and significantly impact the IT sector. For example, many of the agenda items in the plan involve substantial engineering and IT services investments, such as:
- Improving access to broadband
- Building an Internet-based smart energy grid
- Increasing renewable energy efforts within three years to double the amount of energy that can be produced from renewable resources
- Improving infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, mass transit and water projects
- Upgrading 10,000 schools and improve learning for 5 million students
- Creating electronic medical records
- Introducing incentives for companies who invest in new plants and equipment
While these goals are good and important, we can’t rely on the economic stimulus package to stimulate the IT sector. As Anna Frazzetto, Vice President for Technology Solutions at Harvey Nash, shared in a recent blog that highlights recession insights from 30 IT executives, there is no magic bullet that will make these challenges disappear. While operational efficiency in tough times like these is essential, businesses and their leaders must open their eyes to opportunities and learn to risk greatness again.
I, for one, believe that amidst all of today’s uncertainty, this is for certain: Technology will play a key part in turning around today’s grim marketplace and helping the government create “three to four million jobs over the next few years” as well as a more competitive America. Harvey Nash is determined to begin making its contributions to these efforts long before the stimulus package begins to have affect.
February 13, 2009 11:20 PM | Permalink