I am probably wrong, but somehow I have this feeling of crisis hanging in the air. Do not ask me how I know, it is just this very well-developed sensitivity for what is happening in the market. On top of that, it is autumn in the part of the world I live in. Brown and yellow leaves are swirling all around while a clammy wind blows through the deserted streets. Looks like everybody has spontaneously become depressed. Especially at IT departments, the gloomy mood seems to be all over the place. Finally you managed to create that innovation plan, next thing you know it is mothballed. Projects are stopped in total panic. Drawers are opened and spreadsheets appear that still look unpleasantly familiar. Only the head of Procurement strides through the building with a newly found élan.
Light therapy for everyone and pass the Prozac jar please.
Or could the situation be different this time?
It sounds utterly cynical, but we should not be surprised if the current misery leads to a pile of new IT work. The Government is clearly back at the wheel in many places and the public opinion just won’t tolerate even the slightest suggestion of misconduct in business. Rules and regulation will be tighter than ever. It means more risk management, more reporting and in general a call for total transparency. All of these areas obviously depend on enabling information systems.
Also, more organizations are bound to split or merge (if necessary repeated in random order) and this will require extensive support through enterprise architecture, standardization and carefully crafted integration solutions. Indeed, a lousy economy may spur the demand for certain categories of IT professionals.
Apart from all that, the average project portfolio nowadays looks a lot healthier than a few years ago. Thanks to the previous recession in which only rock-solid business cases survived and all frivolous indulgence was cut away.
And why choose that defensive approach in the first place? We live in a time in which millions literally melt away by the minute. Yet another round of marginal cost savings would almost feel, well, insignificant. A bit like the mouse that tries to make light steps, because it fears it will destroy the rope bridge. Together with the elephant.
We’d better look for new applications that will enable the organisation to grow, for example by producing more effectively (see also Andy’s blog-piece on this), winning new clients and entering yet unexplored markets. There are many exciting technology areas that can help us turn the tide.
Breaking new grounds, there is no better remedy against depression. Let the autumn come.