It's been about one month exactly since I wrote my post entitled "Show Me the Money...Really."
You know, the one in which I joked about wondering if my money was safer in my Sleep Number mattress or invested in South Florida condominiums, among other things.
It turns out, the answer was "Yes, absolutely."
I'm starting to pine for the good ol' first days of the meltdown, when it was still possible to shift some money around in one's 401K or investment portfolio and be able to have some impact.
Now, most are just plain in the tank.
But as I ran around Austin's Town Lake early this morning -- I'm being sure to exercise regularly to help keep in good physical health, so that I don't become my own personal drag on American's fiscal health -- I contemplated the lemonade side of things.
Apparently, so is Gartner.
ZDNet's "Between the Lines" blog reports from the Gartner Symposium in Orlando that the IT consultancy has revised its 2009 IT budget prognostications, and though everything's not coming up roses, things could be a lot worse.
Analyst Peter Sondergaard explained that most IT folks have been through this before (2001 to 2003), and know how to tighten the belt without completely stalling innovation and technology progress.
With that in mind, Gartner is projecting at least a 1 percentage point drop in IT budget growth next year, from 3.3 to 2.3 percent, with the worst case scenario being a flattening (0 percent growth).
Sondergaard's counsel: Tech execs should focus on disruptive technologies that can help cut costs.
Check out ZDNet's blog post to see what the top 10 disruptive technologies are, but it was noteworthy to me that the list included "social networking," "cloud computing," "Web mashups," "user interface," and "semantics," areas involved in creating efficiencies --rganizationally, infrastructurally, and experientially.
"Social networking," by the way, was listed at number three.
This suggests to me there's a very real and growing understanding that building out inter- and intra-enterprise social networks can be a game changer in terms of information sharing, skills identification, talent hiring and retention, and plain just working to optimize what individuals and the organization at large knows so that it can better act on that collective knowledge.
And finally, remember this: Much innovation can come from a market trough. Many of the groundbreaking Web 2.0 tools and technologies we enjoy today were borne out of such a trough in 2001-2003.
However, a lessening overall IT budget spend means the need is greater than ever to put those dollars in the areas that can bring the most return in the shortest time horizon.