My hair’s on fire before the Summer Swoon

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I’ve had a slow blogging month during June. This is in large part due to a lengthy vacation for my wife and I, but also to the fact that work has been quite busy. Crazy busy projects, chasing business leads, working on proposals, and trying to grow a business, etc. A friend of mine who’s also in the technology business made the comment that he’s pleasantly surprised at the extraordinary number of sales opportunities he’s tracking right now. So what gives?

My initial thought is that it’s due to a still strong technology growth swing. I know economists and business folks alike are predicting some instability (or worse!) in the overall economy recovery, but at least in the technology sector, things seem to be clicking along. As I consider what I’ve seen in the last few years thought, I think part of it may be the build up before the “IT Summer Swoon”.

For most businesses, the traditional slow period occurs somewhere near Christmas and continuing into the first quarter of the following year. This makes complete sense as it’s timed to the holidays, vacations and in many cases, companies spending cycles that are linked to annual budgeting activities. However, I’ve also noticed a significant trend in the Summer for the last few years as companies who were free spending for IT projects during the end of Q1 and into Q2, kicking off this initiative or that program, start to tap the brakes before the months of July – August. This is often to accomodate resource scheduling (aka vacation for themselves or team members) or to avoid interrupting seasonal business, but also to level set their budget expectations. Executives are hesitant to promise delivery during periods of time where their strongest team members are out of the office.

Consulting services companies in particular, are impacted by this as they’ve staffed up for the peak work and possibly brought on new college graduates to meet their pipeline demand. And then…a lull. CIOs and IT VPs who were flush with cash and needed to push new projects through for the business begin to postpone start dates and other milestones. Decisions that used to take days or weeks, take months.  Obviously if their fiscal year ends with the month of June, that makes it even more likely that they will re-plan for the remaining of the calendar year. There’s no clear cut way to avoid it as a company, you just have to ride out the swoon. And if history is any guide in the technology, the pace of work and deals will ramp up with the onset of Fall. If not, I will definitely have more time to blog!

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