Economic conditions may be even worse than they appear, and that spells significant changes for IT.
Smart CTOs and CIOs are no doubt listening when the great economic minds of our times publicly predict what the next few months might hold. Whether that's the IMF calling the current situation a "Great Recession," Warren Buffett remarking about how the U.S. economy has "fallen off a cliff," or Harvard economics professor Robert Barro saying there's a 20 percent chance we'll sink into a depression, one collective outlook for March is that 2009 is a lost cause in terms of economic recovery.
IT shops simply cannot afford to ignore the world at large, so CIOs are likely to keep purse strings tight for months to come, and as a result, there will undoubtedly be long-lasting changes.
"It's a very strange environment that's been created," says David Williams, a research vice president at Gartner. "It will definitely reshape IT management and operations in a number of ways. Some will be subtle, some deeper."
Cost-cutting is changing how IT operates
The fundamentals of the economy have changed. With so much financial pressure, IT shops are being forced to make moves that optimize costs much more quickly than they would in an economic boom. Cloud computing, consolidation, and virtualization were already gaining steam, and the recession will kick their adoption into high gear, analysts agree.
"There's an incredible focus this year on driving efficiency," says Rick Villars, vice president of storage systems at IDC. "What this means is reducing capital expenditures and trying to cut operational expenses wherever possible."
To that end, Cisco Systems is planning a big datacenter push this week with virtualization smack in the middle of its strategy. Hewlett-Packard detailed last week new products and services it claims can help customers plan for the economic recovery.