by December 1, 2008 0 comments

Media the world over is predicting this to be the worst economic slowdown
ever. But then, people who have lived through various economic cycles would
easily be able to split the hype from reality, and tell that while the causes of
a slowdown vary, their impact is usually similar in nature. We can easily apply
this formula to the current slowdown and predict that this one is no
different from the previous one or the one before that.

Let’s look at the slowdown of 2001, which happened due to the great dot com
bust and compare it with the current one. Much before it actually happened,
people predicted that there was a dot com bubble just waiting to burst, and
bring with it a recession. But nobody of course could in their wildest of dreams
predict the disaster that followed and brought down with it the US and world
economy-the Sep 11 attack on WTC. Markets crashed, demands dipped, giving rise
to higher unemployment, pink slips, and company closures.

Now let’s come to the current slowdown. Much before it started, people knew
that it would be caused by the US sub-prime crisis. Nobody however, had
predicted that it would be so bad that many leading multi-national banks and
financial institutes would go bankrupt. But the results of the current slowdown
remain similar to the previous one-job cuts, stock market crash, dip in market
demands, and the like.

So the key learning from slowdowns is that they’re a way for markets to
correct themselves and provide everyone an opportunity to think about the next
big thing. After the dot com bust, the web emerged stronger than ever. Today
everyone’s going gaga over web 2.0, social networking, and the benefits it
provides. The humble server room transformed itself into a powerful data center
to host business critical applications, and e-Commerce became a standard
practice amongst most enterprises. The WTC attack reduced air travel, giving a
boost to video conferencing, and also made DR and BCP common practice amogst

Likewise, the current slowdown will also give an impetus to many
technologies, some of which include Green IT, cloud computing, graphics, web,
etc. We’ve talked about ten of them along with their likely future impact in
this month’s cover story.

It’s also forcing CIOs to reduce their IT purchase and focus more on
improving efficiencies within their existing IT infrastructures. We’ve talked
about the impact of the slowdown on enterprises at length in our IT strategy
guide for CIOs along with tips on how to survive the slowdown.

Lastly, the good thing about a slowdown is that it reduces complacency and
forces people to think differently and identify new opportunities. So why should
it be different during the current slowdown? Our IT careers story this time
explains just how bad is the job market and areas that are growing.

So treat the slowdown as an opportunity and take yourself to the next level.
All the best and wish you a fulfilling new year ahead!

Anil Chopra, Editor

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