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EDITORIAL: Desperate measures

EDITORIAL: Desperate measures

You may ask why we took Channel X to the zoo for another cover shoot. Actually, so did our MD. "Not another animal cover," he cried when he saw the turtle. Sorry, Don, but desperate times call for desperate _measures!

The economy has left the channel feeling a little lacklustre and with bear economies in hibernation and the tiger ones turning into threatened species, we had no choice but to turn to another pin-up animal for inspiration. So this month we're talking turtle economies. Why?

OK, if you don't remember David Attenborough's _forays into the Galapagos, a little bit of Darwinism might help. Basically, the story goes that the strength of a bear or the speed of a tiger does not guarantee you survival in the changing climate - economic or otherwise. But those lazy turtle-geriatrics Sir David filmed on the Hood Island beach should convince anyone that to go slow is not necessarily a bad thing. Let's just say that doing things slowly keeps your blood pressure down and low blood pressure translates into staying power. And, if the Attenborough turtles are anything to go by, a slowdown can translate into some serious longevity. Does 300 years sound tempting? I thought so!

Unfortunately, the turtle on the cover of this month's Channel X doesn't mean Australia's current economic performance will guarantee your survival into the 23rd century. On the contrary - keeping one's blood pressure down in the Howard-Costello-run economy is a challenge in anyone's terms. But, as David Smedley argues in this month's Big Yarn [page 10], selling your way out of downturn is far from impossible even if we are witnessing our weakest economic performance since 1991.

Unlike the US - where the IT industry has faced four consecutive quarters of negative growth - industry research suggests that the local IT industry is not facing recession. In fact, according to IDC, this year's IT spending in Australia is expected to grow by more than 10 per cent, with 65 per cent of those surveyed looking to increase their technology spend.

This means that businesses looking to follow the optimum path to economic recovery still see technology as a value-deriving model that can help them climb out of the slump. And, as unlikely as it may sound, they are ready to spend money on it. Bless them for learning lessons from the past!

In the channel the trick appears to be finding your synergic curve and reaching your goals with the least expenditure of energy. In the current climate this might mean anything from adjusting your operation to longer sales cycles, or focusing on in-house maintenance - making sure your skills and partnerships are in order and ready to face the upturn - when it finally arrives.

For, while things may be moving at a turtle pace, the channel has never had more opportunities to conquer new markets. From the fairly mysterious Web Services space [see this month's Web Shop on page 22] to the ever-growing security market [see page 49], challenges are just screaming at you. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Even looking at all the new, exciting, but strange occupational monikers that have been on offer in the channel of late (W-ireless A-pplication S-ervice P-rovider is my latest favourite!) should be enough to bring a revelation about.

So, if you think that this slump is no different to all the previous ones - think again. To borrow the wise words of one of the greatest lateral thinkers of our time, Edward de Bono, "the past is not sufficient blueprint for the future. You can analyse the past, but you have to design the future." And now is the time to do it. tamara_plakalo@idg.com.auEditor


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