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Thu 4 Dec 2008 12:04 PM

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Opportunity amid adversity

As the global credit crisis dominates the headlines, users and vendors alike are retreating from the field, but instead of seeing only the negative some industry players are planning for the future.

The storms have set in here in the Emirates, both literally and figuratively, and over the past few weeks we have seen the first signs of panic begin to set in as organisations slash both staff and budgets.The IT industry has not escaped unscathed and it’s extremely likely that we will see further bloodletting before the year is done. However in the midst of all the pessimism and gloom some IT professionals are raising their voices to encourage the industry to innovate and adapt to the challenges that lie ahead.

NME attended a conference barely a week ago in which the key note speech was informally titled, opportunity or adversity. The speaker, an experienced consultant and innovator in the datacentre field pulled no punches as he discussed the realities of the current financial crisis.

Similarly he made it clear that he believed that the commercial datacentre market coupled with hosted services was nowhere near the maturity levels it should be in the region. Yet instead of advising the delegates to pack up their bags and head for the airport, as so many people seem to be doing, he advised long term strategic planning.

Stick it out he seemed to say, draw up a plan and set your execution date two years into the future. One could be forgiven for thinking that twenty four months is a lifetime away given the situation many organisation find themselves in but in reality it is only those enterprises who embrace the opportunities that will inevitably emerge that will secure their long term future.

The hosted services market is estimated to be worth over $750 million while latent demand sits at a conservative figure of 26%. These are not pie in the sky figures but instead represent a facet of the network industry that remains underutilised. If organisations do not emerge to fill that gap the large multinationals and conglomerates that proliferate the region will set about creating their own datacentres and a golden opportunity will be missed.

Admittedly in the short term businesses and datacentres will face closure as corporate players attempt to reduce their operating costs. This will see them turn to managed services and outsourced hosting.

It is not just in the datacentre field that opportunities will emerge, the IT industry is sure to be awash with opportunity as the tough times begin to take an even tighter hold.

As the launch of new projects slow to a trickle the demand for services and solutions will once again begin to build and over time reach a critical mass before bursting. It will be those enterprises who have planned for this demand and burst who will emerge from the crisis with reputations enhanced and coffers replenished.

Nobody is under any illusions as to the difficulties that lie ahead over the next twelve to eighteen months but instead of retreating to the bomb shelters and hoping for respite it is time to consider the mans advice. Find the opportunity amid the adversity.

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