Opportunities for Advancement in an Economic Downturn
Can the current economic environment actually create an opportunity? Even though the present financial crisis will adversely affect capital investment, the uncertainties are also creating new demand for the application of certain business technology offerings.
"In particular, ICT solutions that shift costs from a capital to variable component, focus on productivity increases and cost reduction, and support organizational restructuring and acquisitions are likely to see growing demand," says Andrew Milroy, ICT director at Frost & Sullivan.
Four Areas of New Demand
This belief that there will be a strategic increase in IT demand is the result of the consulting company's latest global market study.
While their assessment acknowledges some ICT setbacks, it identifies four key areas that are likely to experience heightened demand -- sustainable IT; outsourcing, managed and hosted services; information management tools; and those services that support mergers and acquisitions.
Sustainability initiatives range from server or storage virtualization and low-energy consumption hardware, through to the use of online collaboration tools, thin client technologies and power consumption modeling. Most of these activities have the dual aim of reducing costs, as well as lowering carbon emissions.
An Increase for Online Collaboration
The anticipated reduction in business travel will create a corresponding increase in demand for conferencing tools. These applications will allow more employees to work remotely, further cutting travel costs and emissions. Secure remote access solutions will therefore experience demand.
The need for cost controls and a desire to minimize risks will place greater focus on variable costs, leading to an increase in demand for software-as-a-service (SaaS) and hosted service models.
Frost & Sullivan's research suggests that the hosted model will be adapted to suit a wider range of services -- including storage and unified communications. New opportunities are expected in many areas of managed services -- such as managed handsets, managed network services and leasing services.
Change Creates Abundant Opportunity
In a summary of their findings, Milroy adds, "We believe that there are opportunities for solutions and services that can help organizations to cut costs, change cost structures, or increase productivity."
The lean times ahead of us will foster the environment where all "business as usual" thinking is challenged -- and, rightfully so. Forward-looking leaders will not falter; they will grasp that potential for new sources of advancement and take the appropriate action.
Perhaps all IT and business decision makers must now ask themselves the ultimate question -- is my organization preparing for a purposeful advance, or an unpredictable decline?