The largesse and irrational exuberance of the old "new economy" has now been replaced by the furtive glances, dark shadows and indecision of the "fear economy." War, terrorism, financial scandals and economic recession have had profound effects across the nation and within corporate America. Information technology has been particular hard hit as the fear economy’s impact has slowed IT spending across the board and ground to a halt much of the innovation that was occurring within corporate America only a few years ago. Within IT, pervasive computing and other emerging technologies have been particularly devastated as innovation and long-term technology investments are being labelled as unproven and too risky to undertake.

The risks associated within innovation in corporate IT have not changed over the past few years; it is corporate IT’s capacity for risk that has been altered significantly. As potential projects come before the planning and budget decisions-makers, they are no longer judged based on the company’s need for speed or its desire not to be left behind in the Internet age, but by the project’s projected ROI and quantifiable hard dollar return. Projects that promise only vague objectives of "improved decision making" or "increased productivity" are not even making it past the first cut.

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