Regardless of who might have authorship rights (Pimco? Ariba? Others?), the concept of "The New Normal" has definitely caught on in both the mainstream media and spend management circles .

 

However, it's important to remember that "the New Normal" doesn't translate directly to "permanent low GDP growth" as has been put forth by some investment advisors.

 

Instead, the New Normal is characterized by several trends that will, over time, become "SOP" for most large organizations:

1. Increased need for agility to respond more quickly to rapid change whether that's in commodity markets, geopolitical supply risk, regulatory environments, or good old-fashioned competition.

2. Fewer permanent resources and increased reliance on your community of business partners. Let's face it, many of the people laid off during the Recession aren't coming back or at least not in the same capacity. But there's even more to do. That means increased productivity and relying more heavily on your business partners and suppliers to do things that in the past might have been done internally

3. Reluctance to make large upfront investments with long payback times. Good luck with talking your CFO into any "$25M now and ROI in 48 months" business cases. ROI, especially in technology investments, needs to be measurable in weeks and months, not quarters and years.

 

Surely, these are all challenges, but none mean "low growth forever". Companies that can learn how to respond and scale quickly will have plenty of opportunities to deliver value to both customers and shareholders.

 

So, don't let the New Normal get you down. Growth will return like it always does. Instead, look at this new environment as an opportunity for your organization to get in front of the curve provided you've got the speed, agility, capabilities and community to grab it.