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Channel Chunder: Let

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Geriatric “rockers” across the spectrum of readers of this fine magazine who have not yet fallen victim to the ravages of Alzheimer’s may recall a popular song that found it’s way into the annals of music history more than five decades ago. 


Firmly rooted in the “jump blues” music of Louis Jordan who was belatedly acknowledged as one of the founders of rock ‘n roll and dating back to the 1950s, “Let the Good Times roll” became something of an anthem for an untold number of music greats of their era.
Recorded by superstars such as BB King, Janis Joplin, Ike and Tina Turner, Jimmi Hendriks, Ray Charles as well as super groups such as The Animals and countless others, “Let the Good Times Roll” also passed into folklore as something of a rallying cry for disc jockeys, theatrical impresarios and party organisers.
Even today, the song title is used as a catchphrase to evoke passion and motivate people to have a good time regardless of the context.
And let’s face it, the good times have really been rolling for the information technology industry and the channel in this country for longer than even today’s “now generation” can recall – let alone the baby-boomer geriatrics who pre-date the dawn of commercial computing.
“State of the Nation” (this month’s cover story) seems to indicate that the good times will continue to roll for the rest of this year and possibly for the next several years as we rock to the positive economic vibes that are evoked by the staging of the FIFA World Cup in 2010 and roll to the wise fiscal and economic leadership of “Tito and Trevor”.
For at least the past four years or so, the IT industry has enjoyed consistent growth on the back of the country’s strong economic fundamentals.
A relatively stable exchange rate, relatively benign inflation and rampant consumer spending that has spurred brilliant corporate profitability have helped create a sustained period of almost unprecedented success and stability in the IT industry and channel.
Not since the recovery from the meltdown suffered in the wake of Y2K has the IT industry had it so good.
While there may have been periods in the past when growth and profitability were almost obscene, they tended to be short-lived and followed by periods of equally spectacular slumps.
There are, of course, no guarantees that the South African economy or the IT industry in this country is not going to be hit by hard times in the future. It’s a fact of life that economic cycles come and go and that it’s only the heights or depth of the peaks and troughs that vary.
There are already some early-warning signals in the market that the good times may not be as good in the months and years ahead as they have been.
Inflation has crept over the upper end of the target range, interest rates are edging upwards and stringent new measures have been put in place to manage consumer credit.
Even the exchange rate is beginning to experience a degree of volatility that has not been too much of a factor in recent years.
While it may be too soon to start panicking, when the cycle does turn, as it surely must, we can only hope that all the players who have been cashing in on the good times are going to be able to weather the crunch and join the party when the good times roll around again.