Forrester Chairman and CEO George Colony has a reassuring blog out this morning on the impact of a global recession on tech. His take? Technology had its Great Depression in 2001-2003, and this time will be different. Seven years later, the irrational exuberance that proceeded the fall has modulated. Tech will be down but not out, Colony says:
2001-2003 was a tech depression. Spending stopped, projects were canceled, excess inventory flooded the market destroying pricing. Cisco lost half a trillion dollars of market cap. Why? Tech had a long way to fall. Tech spending in 2000 in the U.S. was up 12% — there was fluff and fat everywhere. When the bubble burst, the fall was precipitous. But tech spending was up only 6% from 2006 to 2007.
Another difference from seven years ago?
There were no big tech changes afoot back in 2001-2002. Not true now. Virtualization, social computing, mobile computing, Green IT, SOA, extended Internet (connecting the physical world to the digital world) are front and center on the agendas of large companies. Will many of these projects get cut back? Yes. But many are part of long-term company plans — they will persist despite economic slowdowns.
Colony, as anyone who attends Forrester conferences knows, has long advocated a name change for IT to BT, or business technology, to acknowledge that IT sits in the center of business operations. BT will drive the recovery this time, he says, from Wal-Mart using social computing to sharpen its response to customers to JPMorgan integrating Bear Stearns.
Let’s hope IT can take care of business.