There's a bit of a buzz this week on the enterprise software blogosphere about the implications of a down economy on the software industry. This sort of thinking gives IT managers a chance to update an important management skill, financial planning.
In looking out a few months, ZDNet's Josh Greenbaum is writing from the perspective of the SAP user conference now in progress. Others are comparing software-as-a-service (SaaS) pure-plays with the traditional enterprise software players. (SAP encouraged this by letting founder Hasso Plattner get in the cage a few weeks back with Salesforce.com's Marc Benioff.) In my own IT investment research, you will see hints of concern based on Microsoft's latest quarterly numbers.
But down times can be good times for IT managers who are prepared.
That is not because "software is dead" (Benioff's mantra). Software suppliers were selling it as a service long before someone came up with the idea of getting you to pay for most of the functionality upfront with a right-to-use license. The industry will have no problem reverting "back to the future."
And that is not because "enterprise software is recession proof" (SAP's spin on a weak first quarter). It is not recession proof because it is too large. But remember that the downturn is pretty much a North American issue so far and even here in North America, the recession metrics have not yet been met.
So this is the time to get ready for a downturn.
In general, make yourself look good to top management by thinking of your IT acquisitions as investments rather than just technologies.