The last couple of years have been painful, to say the least. Some call them unprecedented, financially, but I do believe that is pushing the descriptor a bit far, since there have been plenty of instances where business pretty much en-masse questioned the amount that IT returns for their investment and cut budgets, so the feel of this recession is not much different than what we’ve felt before, it’s just by necessity. The funny bit of this is that everyone seems to agree that IT spending still went up in 2009, just by a massively reduced amount. Since the pinch is definitely out there, one can only assume that a 1.6% (or so, depending upon your source) increase in spending was not enough to cover increases in maintenance costs and new purchases.
The impact on IT is pretty straight-forward, at least in my mind. Major IT projects were delayed or canceled based on tough funding decisions, and those projects ran the gamut from development to networking to outsourcing services. Some of these projects were not critical, and some were cut when the business they were going to support was curtailed, but some are “hidden gems” that will in the long run cost the business more than it is saving today.
But belt tightening went on across the entire organization, so IT is left to struggle with its portion of the pie, hoping that the shortfalls (necessary project wise) will be made up in the future. The only bright spot from a budgeting perspective is that new programs and products were cut before IT, since IT is corporate wide and viewed (mostly) strategically.