Like moths drawn to a bright light, those of us who barter in the handling of information keep coming back to the lessons of the Great Recession. We just can’t turn away, even after all this time. The recession was arguably the most significant mismanagement of information in recent history. There are many lessons to draw from, but these stand out foremost as illuminating examples in our field of IT in general and fiber connectivity in particular.
- We really can do more with less. The Great Recession took huge swipes at budgets, and guess what happened? People started working smarter, resources became more accessible, and productivity improved. The takeaway lesson? If you need more – more bandwidth, more flexibility, more connectivity overall -- you might be able to find it in your existing infrastructure. You might be able to consolodate elements of your existing copper cable network in to inexpensive fiber runs, for example. And, just because you can trench for a new fiber build-out doesn’t mean you should. Often, you can multiply the capability of existing fiber runs by using WDM technology or extend a fiber infrastructure using new interface modules saving loads of cash.
- Just because it’s always been done a certain way, doesn’t mean it should continue to be that way. The recession was a major shakeup for businesses and organizations that had gotten used to doing things one way due to influential factors at the time. But, as we all know, things change and we often don’t know it until something like a recession comes along and makes us rethink everything. We still talk to IT professionals who are missing out on high-speed fiber connectivity because they were told five years ago that it’s too costly or difficult to install. The truth is, fiber connectivity has changed radically since then and even as recent as a year ago, both in terms of affordability and ease of implementation.
- You can never have too much information. By early 2007, all the warning signs were there: questionable lending policies, equally questionable housing prices, not to mention massive foreign borrowing and lax regulations. But few connected the dots to predict what would happen next, which we now know to be the worst recession since the Great Depression. Anymore, you have to be able to connect all the dots, to put together information – lots of it – from more and more sources than ever before. In our business, that means broader access and more access. Few means can deliver that kind of information payload as readily as fiber optic connectivity.
- We live in a global economy. The Great Recession pretty much took care of any lingering doubt that the entire world is turning on a shared economic axis. When the U.S. financial markets took a dive, the rest of the world followed down a similar rabbit hole. The great lesson: we’re all connected, and that’s going to take more high-speed, secure connectivity than what’s currently available from copper cabling.
- We need to act decisively. There was plenty of mistakes and finger-pointing to go around during the Great Recession. But most will agree that had a few decisive policies been put into place early on, we might have avoided the whole ugly mess – or some of it, anyway. Most of us can’t afford to miss the signs that there’s a change in the winds. We need timely information to make timely decisions. (You know where I’m going with this.)