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Slowdown is an opportunity in itself

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CIOL Bureau
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BANGALORE, INDIA: Media the world over is predicting this to be the worst economic slowdown ever. But then, people who have lived through various economic cycles would easily be able to split the hype from reality, and tell that while the causes of a slowdown vary, their impact is usually similar in nature. We can easily apply this formula to the current slowdown and predict that this one is no different from the previous one or the one before that.

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Let's look at the slowdown of 2001, which happened due to the great dot com bust and compare it with the current one. Much before it actually happened, people predicted that there was a dot com bubble just waiting to burst, and bring with it a recession. But nobody of course could in their wildest of dreams predict the disaster that followed and brought down with it the US and world economy-the Sep 11 attack on WTC. Markets crashed, demands dipped, giving rise to higher unemployment, pink slips, and company closures.

Now let's come to the current slowdown. Much before it started, people knew that it would be caused by the US sub-prime crisis. Nobody however, had predicted that it would be so bad that many leading multi-national banks and financial institutes would go bankrupt. But the results of the current slowdown remain similar to the previous one-job cuts, stock market crash, dip in market demands, and the like.

So the key learning from slowdowns is that they're a way for markets to correct themselves and provide everyone an opportunity to think about the next big thing. After the dot com bust, the web emerged stronger than ever. Today everyone's going gaga over web 2.0, social networking, and the benefits it provides. The humble server room transformed itself into a powerful data center to host business critical applications, and e-Commerce became a standard practice amongst most enterprises. The WTC attack reduced air travel, giving a boost to video conferencing, and also made DR and BCP common practice amogst enterprises.

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Likewise, the current slowdown will also give an impetus to many technologies, some of which include Green IT, cloud computing, graphics, web, etc. We've talked about ten of them along with their likely future impact in this month's cover story.

It's also forcing CIOs to reduce their IT purchase and focus more on improving efficiencies within their existing IT infrastructures. We've talked about the impact of the slowdown on enterprises at length in our IT strategy guide for CIOs along with tips on how to survive the slowdown.

Lastly, the good thing about a slowdown is that it reduces complacency and forces people to think differently and identify new opportunities. So why should it be different during the current slowdown? Our IT careers story this time explains just how bad is the job market and areas that are growing.

So treat the slowdown as an opportunity and take yourself to the next level. All the best and wish you a fulfilling new year ahead!

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