February 08, 2010, 4:48 PM — Some people are loath to come right out and say this, but I will: The recession is over, and when the numbers are all sorted, I'm guessing the experts will say we turned the corner early last fall, if not sooner.
Sure, there are qualifiers. With such a deep recession, the recovery may be slow. Jobs are a lagging indicator, and we may have double-digit unemployment for some time to come. And the housing market is still weak.
But the technology sector is far from weak. In fact, technology looks to be leading the charge. Over the past few weeks, there's been up-and-down news about the economy. But when you home in on tech financials, IT spending forecasts and tech vendors' quarterly sales figures, things are looking upbeat.
A few weeks ago, for example, Gartner raised its 2010 worldwide IT spending growth projection to 4.6% from 3.3%. Although that's fairly modest growth, it represents a big swing from 2009's 4.6% drop in IT spending. Forrester, meanwhile, is projecting 6.6% IT spending growth this year.
Maybe you aren't terribly concerned because the full effects of this recession were never felt in your IT shop. Chances are good that your IT organization didn't stop spending entirely and continued rolling out projects, implementing new technologies, maintaining infrastructure and performing upgrades. But there's a good chance that you did lose some personnel, or at least saw new hiring postponed, and you almost certainly had to cancel or delay some projects. Most IT shops aren't running at anywhere near full speed.
And if you work in one of those shops, you might want to heed this very sound advice, which Computerworld offered in the story "Recovery Ahead" back on Aug. 10:
"Once the business demand for IT services starts growing in an economic recovery, it's far too late for an in-house IT department to ramp up to meet that demand. The time to prepare for a recovery is just before the recession starts to bottom out.... You can't just wait until the recession is declared over."
That advice may have been difficult to act upon last summer, though. The climate at many organizations has been cautious to the point of paralysis -- and that's completely understandable, given the economic environment.