I was chastised last week by an attendee at Gartner’s Symposium for our analyst keynote address. He said that we were telling everybody to cut back, retrench, delay big IT investments and to generally get very frugal due to the economic meltdown. His beef was that those that continue to cut back past the trough in the economic curve will be investing behind their competitors that start investing just prior to or at the bottom of the trough, and that this would cause serious competitive disadvantage.
He was right. I don’t think our analyst keynote address was overly negative, just very pragmatic. But like all situations, the application of our advice varies across industries, company sizes and regions.
The key is timing. If significant IT investments are made while we are too far away from the bottom of economic trough, the resulting IT expenditures may cause serious damage to overall company finances. If these IT investments are delayed until after the recovery is well underway, competitors would get a head start, potentially causing loss of market share. This is especially true in industries where IT is the driving competitive advantage.
I appreciate the advice of the Symposium attendee, and hope that companies apply our advice based on their specific situation.
Now if we could only get that timing thing right!