Does IT really have recession-busting powers?

A recent BCS event pondered whether IT could lead the UK out of the recession, while research from IDC and Microsoft this week suggested it has the power to lift the global economy. Fact or just well-intentioned fiction?

"Continued innovation and investment in information technology will help jump-start recovery from the current recession and will significantly contribute to the growth of employment and new businesses."

Shrinking budgets

That said, some of the predictions made were at odds with comments made yesterday by IDC analyst Chris Ingle at a Microsoft Windows 7 event in London.

While IDC and Microsoft have sung the praises of the transformational potential technology wields, the outlook is not as rosy for organisational budgets.

Indeed, Ingle believes that IT budgets inevitably take a hit when times are bad, and often don't go back up before the next economic struggle hits.

"IT budgets won't recover within five years, if at all," he said.

He added: "Short term measures to reduce costs haven't yet worked or aren't working. Companies that have cut IT staff need to do something more radical to achieve the cost cuts they're aiming for."

But having a multi-million pound tech budget isn't the panacea some believe. People can be of much more value than dollars or pounds.

Call in the government

That's the view of a BCS-gathered panel, chaired last month by Mastermind presenter John Humphrys.

"For me it is about ensuring that we've got the right people with the right skills in the right jobs. We know that a third of business-enabled change is through information and technology," said Lesley Hume, Director of Government IT Profession.

"Whatever the market is, whatever the climate is, I believe that ICT is not going to stand still. It's ubiquitous in everything we do. We know it continues to fundamentally change the way we do business. So it is very important to ensure that we have the right professional approach to do that business-enabled change."

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