Don't Waste a Recession
"Competitive executives should welcome recessions. In the heat of a downturn, superior companies pull away from the competition and aspiring companies can dart ahead."
So says a report called(PDF) from Diamond Management and Technology Consultants, which is based on research into over "400 companies and their performance (relative and absolute) before, during, and after the last recession (1998-2004)."
Firms that emerge stronger from tough times keep spending on R&D, and make cuts to investment carefully. "At a large insurance broker that was about to make an across-the-board cut of 10% on its technology budget, our analysis uncovered numerous opportunities for process standardization across the new business development group and identified more than 10% cost savings while simultaneously increasing their speed in setting up new businesses."
More on the technology front: "Automate, Automate, Automate. Given the continued, rapid decrease in the cost of information technology, it is essential during a recession to search for new places to automate. Projects which may have been infeasible only a few years ago may now be economically viable."
Below, a chart from the report: