11 September 2001. What now?
The newspapers have been consumed with the recent mass terrorism strike against the United States, in which two US airliners commandeered by suicide hijackers toppled both main towers of the World Trade Center and a third was crashed into the Pentagon. A fourth hijacked airliner crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, its intended target still a mystery. It is clearly a day that will live with us all, as one of the defining events in our lifetime.
Our prayers and strength to all who have suffered loss from this terrible, unthinkable tragedy.
What has emerged from the chaos?
In the wake of the terrible events of 11 September, In-State/MDR has issued a research paper which seeks to answer the question: What are the short and long-term ramifications of the events of 11 September, and of the ongoing threat of terror? Many of the world's economic and financial experts are hard-pressed to form a definitive outlook. So, while we have no all-encompassing answers at this time, In-Stat's paper, comprised of current situation assessments and insights from around the globe, makes for compelling reading. The complete paper can be downloaded at www.instat.com/infoalert/2001/alrt2001-32.htm
To say that these are uncertain times may be the understatement of this new century.
The world's economic structure was struggling prior to the atrocious events of 11 September, and the events of that Tuesday have caused those problems to become more acute as the cracks in the economic foundations of the free world become chasms.
Amid lowered GDP forecasts, globally and true recessionary speculations for the US in particular, comes a glimmer of fundamental economic stability. As of today, some $40 to $50 billion is being appropriated to begin the process of rescue, recovery and rebuilding. The rebuilding efforts will in themselves, over time, stimulate economic conditions, as the velocity of investment can have a significant impact, moving much like a snowball at the top of a hill.
The e-business view
Given the events of the last few months, it is fair to say that the 'New Economy' is about uncertainty. Prior to 11 September, businesses were faced with the uncertainty of where the technology services and solutions purchased the year before would take their businesses and the resulting return on investment. Now, uncertainty becomes paramount. Though there are no absolutes in economics or psychology, In-Stat has come to some basic conclusions about the short, medium and long-term outlook of US eBusiness trends which will ripple across the global economic spectrum.
For the next six months
In-Stat believes there is a strong chance that US businesses will put the brakes on short-term high-tech spending. Firms will be forced to deal with depressed workers, disrupted supply chains, reduced cash flows, shrinking demand, and a decidedly different and uncertain economic environment.
Looking 12-24 months out, the outlook becomes positive
The capital infusion resulting from recovery and rebuilding efforts combined with lower interest rates should be effective in jump-starting the economy by mid-2002. The ongoing need to rebuild and reinforce business infrastructures combined with increased requirements for improved security and safety should lead to new life being breathed into the ailing US economy.
Further, there is a healthier sense of realism among both traditional and high-tech businesses, where best practices and pragmatic uses of high-tech products and services in today's business arena are becoming apparent. As key industrial sectors regain balance, reduce inventories and realign for improved efficiency, we should see the beginnings of another economic boom in 2003 or 2004.
Space does not permit a full synopsis of In-Stat's report, suffice to say that the technology markets have in the past endured financial chaos, natural disasters and now, man-made tragedy.
But, the world's insatiable thirst for information and entertainment in the form of voice, data and video remains unquenched - and the chips, equipment, services and infrastructure required to deliver information will continue to grow apace over the long term.
Overall, In-State continues to feel that, in spite of all the uncertainty, there is sufficient input and data to support the beginning of an upturn in the technology markets in 2002.
But one thing is clear, business executives had better start dusting off their business continuity plans, and start treating security as the enabling process that it is.
Till next month,
Managing Editor - eSecure
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