Wednesday, 23 September 2009


(By Richard Holway 9.30am Wednesday 23rd Sept 09) What with my own ‘State of the ICT Nation’ dinner on Monday and Harvey Nash’s Chairman’s Dinner last night, I’ve had mass exposure to the very top executives in the UK this week. I’ve been able to ask many of them, in confidence, what their own views are for the economy, their own business and its outlook. Their views are remarkably consistent:

1 - Confidence has increased – or maybe the word is ‘returned’.

2 - Clients are starting to talk about dusting off shelved projects and/or hires.

3 – The last month or so has been the best for some time.

4 - Quarter-on-quarter declines have ‘bottomed out’. But that’s a far cry from saying that real growth has returned.

5 – There is a wide spread fear that recovery is, in the words of the CBI ‘feeble’. Helen Alexander, the new President of the CBI, said as much when she addressed the Harvey Nash dinner last night.

6 – The 'W' shape seemed to be the most ‘popular’ choice. Although several described the shape of the economy in the years to come as ‘Corrugated’ – which I rather like!

7 – There was a unanimous view that tax increases/public sector cuts would come next year, would be deeper than most expected and would have a profound effect on consumer confidence and therefore business outlook. Ie causing the second dip in the 'W' or just the second of many dips if you subscribe to the ‘Corrugated’ theory .

8 – There was also widespread agreement to my own statements of recessions being game-changing. Ie that they accelerate technological and process changes. The ‘Double Whammy’ of recession plus change (Cloud, netbooks, smartphones, MIDs, ‘free’, online content v physical, offshore etc) was talked about by many as the major challenge facing their businesses.

As usual, I’d love to hear your views too. Just email me on

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