What to do during a slow economy, so they say…

Skinny Piggy Bank
Skinny Piggy Bank

At a recent analyst’s forum, I sat through a breakout session regarding the state of the technology markets.  In case you’re interested, the presenter basically said to expect a recession in 2008, but also predicted a “perfect storm” for the information technology industry starting next year: 2009 will be a post-election year, there will be a post-recession bounce, and pent-up demand for both hardware and software system upgrades will peak in 2008 and should be ready to explode when the American economy begins to instill confidence again (there are already signs, for example, that the American housing market crisis has bottomed out and is stabilizing).  Backed with decades of trending, data, and surveys, he made the following recommendations:

If you’re a technology supplier: software companies, resellers, consultants, etc. should use 2008 to improve their infrastructure–both production and business development–and brace for the three year period beginning with 2009.  If 2008 is indeed a “slow” year, investment should be made in upgrading data center equipment, spending some time working on some new product releases, going ahead and upgrading the accounting and billing systems, or whatever tasks that might get ignored when things are busy.  If the company has the means, 2008 should be a good opportunity to pick up some expertise being let go by other firms.  And 2008 might also be a good time to revamp some of the marketing and messaging: new website, new collateral, updated and revised marketing plan.  This last point, by the way, is where I’ve focused much of my time for the last few months; as point of fact, this is why you’re able to read this blog.

If you’re a technology consumer: companies large and small should take advantage of a glut of products and services during a 2008 recession.  Focus on infrastructure improvements and prepare for the post-2008-recession-bounce; a great candidate for infrastructure improvements is your human resources management systems and processes (like paperless onboarding, I’m proud to say); our economy being service-based, HRMS (or as I prefer, Human Capital) is where the majority of expenditures and risks lie.  When the economy bounces back, you’ll be hiring again; having improved talent acquisition technology in particular will make you more competitive during the 2009 bull market.  2008 is the year to get something done, and to get it done for a deal (specific recommendation: don’t hesitate to negotiate with your vendors).  But also be forewarned: the surplus of technology resources and deals in 2008 will quickly evaporate in 2009.  The predicted “perfect storm” starting in 2009 means even higher prices for the technology products and services you will need to stay competitive.

In a nutshell, if you’re a technology provider, knuckle down in 2008 and prepare for 2009; if you’re a technology consumer, take advantage of the 2008 market to get some deals and get a head start on your infrastructure improvements you’re behind on, because starting in 2009, it will be hard (and therefore expensive) to find resources.

My specific recommendation for technology consumers is this: take a look at our human capital management suite, AllegroHR.  Let us automate your onboarding process, perfect your employee related materials requisitioning processes.  I promise we will make a raving fan out of you…

Update: Chuck sold Emerald Software Group in 2011. You can learn about his new company by clicking here.

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