Riding Out the IT Storm - 25 Mar 2009

Windows IT Pro offers valuable resources in tough economic times

Every morning, the newspaper headlines get worse. The recession is now spanning far beyond its origin in the mortgage industry, turning its corrosive spotlight on every other sector you could name. (Except, I heard recently, the health care industry: If I could stand the sight of blood, I would seriously contemplate medical school.) But two of those damaged sectors cut close to home for the staff and contributors of Windows IT Pro: the publishing industry and the IT industry.


The publishing industry problems aren't new to this recession. However, the current recession will hasten the absolute overhaul of this business that has been coming for years. Particularly in the B2B publishing arena, the cost of paper, printing, and postage for producing the magazine you hold in your hands has risen astronomically. At the same time, advertisers are increasingly interested in results-oriented marketing. We can demonstrate results when a reader clicks on an online advertisement. But we can't prove that you took action because of an ad in the magazine. So as ad pages decrease, inevitably the magazine will be thinner until the tide turns again and media planners discover anew the branding and awareness value of the magazine.


In the meantime, we're not just hiding under our print magazines and hoping to ride out the storm—we're looking at the powerful ways we can bring you technical content and industry analysis in multiple formats, including print magazines, web seminars, in-person events, conferences, virtual events, videos, blogs, and forums. We're reinventing the way we deliver content to you so that the format better matches the information. Like Microsoft, we can give you "on premise" products—the print magazine, books, and DVD resources, and in-person events. But we also deliver services "in the cloud" with a wealth of online training and technical information resources.


The first step toward this new information delivery is relaunching our website, which should be a done deal by the time you read this. (If it's not, it's only days away.) The new platform will allow us much more flexibility in delivering content and will feature more screen area devoted to editorial content and related visual elements. You'll also notice new tools for helping you connect with the IT community, including revamped blogs, forums, and social networking features.


We're also redoubling our efforts to bring you practical information so you can do your current job better or acquire new skills for a different job. These resources include a new online store for technical resources (left-brain.com), a series of Web-based learning seminars (windowsitpro.com/events), and how-to screencasts at our video site (ittv.net). In addition to helping you boost your technical skills, we're planning activities to help you find your next job—watch for news on our site about a web-based job fair coming this summer.


Our current focus on skill boosting and career development, of course, reflects the sobering state of this industry: Consulting organization Challenger, Gray & Christmas calculated that the computer industry ranked third among industries suffering job losses, with a whopping 22,330 layoffs in January alone. Although the publishing industry will probably never be the same again after this recession, the future of the computer industry is as bright as an iPhone screen. In seemingly utter defiance of the bleak statistics, chip manufacturer Intel bravely forged ahead with innovation in February by announcing a $7 billion investment in manufacturing facilities for its 32-nanometer technology. In a National Public Radio interview, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said that the reason for Intel's boldness is simple: The company is betting that technology will lead us out of this recession.


"We believe that people will continue to want to buy computers," Otellini said. "If your computer broke tonight when you went home, you wouldn't wait for the recession to end to buy a new computer. It's an indispensible part of your life."


Otellini's conviction that technology is what will pull us out of the recession is inspiring—and, we hope, accurate. In the meantime, we'd all do well to learn new skills so we'll be ready to ride the wave back up. In the meantime, thanks for staying the course with us while we wait for that next boom.

TAGS: Windows 8
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