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Recovery in the cards?

Let’s hope IDC’s latest numbers are not just spin. 01/09/10 ReleVents hed: Recovery in the cards? dek: Let’s hope IDC’s latest numbers are not just spin. by James Mathewson

Regular readers know that I’m often skeptical of the analyst firms, especially their wild speculation about worldwide growth several years into the future. I guess I’ve been burned too many times taking their rosy predictions at face value. Take the predictions about Web ad sales numbers. Some analyst firms predicted that Web ad sales were due to reach 10 figures by the end of 2002. It would take a miracle to reach those levels at this point.

But I find myself eager to believe an IDC study described in a news item on our site today. Perhaps it’s just wishful thinking, but the study suggests that we will see a slight economic recovery in the fourth quarter this year followed by a strong recovery next year.

I have been as befuddled as anyone at the slow recovery. I predicted that we would see the bottom of the downturn in May of 2001. The Conference Board, one of my leading economic forecasting sources, actually pinpoints the bottom in March. But while I thought the economy would bounce back after May, it has stayed on the bottom all summer, despite extensive monetary easing from the Fed and the tax rebate from President Bush and Co. And while several economists have pushed the recovery back to the first quarter of 2002, the IDC study is the first glimmer of hope that it will start to accelerate its growth again this year.

Despite the study’s optimism about the overall economy, the tech economy may not pick up until Q1 2002, with the exception of e-business spending. But IDC is very optimistic about IT spending next year. An IDC survey indicates that 50 percent of IT budgets will be increased for next year, while only 28 percent will decrease. Overall, IDC says $1 trillion will be spent by IT departments over the next nine quarters.

What do all these numbers mean? Well, for IT folks, they mean IT jobs will become easier to come by again. They also mean that IT managers will have more to work with as they attempt to scale up their companies’ back ends. This is good news for all information architects, who have been working overtime trying to hold their divisions together on a shoestring while their corporate parents cut costs all around them. Once the recovery is in full swing in the second quarter next year, life will once again be comfortable for IT folks around the country.

So you see why I so desperately want to believe IDC’s claims. Let’s hope they aren’t just more rosy predictions.

James Mathewson is editor of ComputerUser magazine and

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