Whether we are actually entering a cycle of economic recession or not may be up for debate, but what is certain is that we always need to be ready for any type of downturn in the business environment. From an IT perspective, periods of uncertainty present an opportunity to focus on becoming leaner and more effective. While Information Technology organizations have been “doing more with less” for a number of years, you can rest assured that the term is only going to be heard more if we are in fact encountering a prolonged slowdown in the world economy.
Let’s assume that since just about every media outlet in the United States is throwing around the “R” word these days when they’re not incessantly covering primary election results, it’s somewhat likely that we will see some level of contraction in our economy (because the media is always right, of course). Let’s also assume that this period of contraction will last about a year, which is slightly longer than the average for recessionary periods over the past 50-or-so years. What this means is that if all of the stars are in alignment and we hit a rough patch in the economy, there will likely be less people buying what your company is selling; and with less dollars hitting the top line, your business will have to do a little belt tightening to maintain the bottom line for the rest of this year and part of next year.
With the corporate Information Technology function facing a critical inflection point that will determine nothing less than its survival as an entity, there is no better way to show how much IT matters to than to step up and demonstrate vision and leadership in a time of uncertainty and fear. When times are rough, budgets get cut, hiring activity gets put on ice, and business units across the board are expected to maintain or improve performance despite such resource handicaps. Deal with it. Times like these are not an excuse to go on autopilot and simply survive – those who play to win will come out of this stronger than before, and those who play to not lose will be left behind.