Earlier this week, I blogged about some suggestions offered by The Hackett Group to help companies prepare for the tough economic times ahead.
But that is far from the final word in belt-tightening. A number of good ideas, gleaned from the real-world experiences of CIOs, are contained in a CIO Insight article tersely titled "Preparing for the Economic Downturn."
Echoing the advice of Gartner, which late last year suggested that CIOs prepare two budgets for 2008 -- one for fairly flush times and another focused on cutting costs -- the CIO of construction company Pulte Homes tells CIO Insight he always keeps in mind some possible ways to slice spending by 15 percent to 20 percent. He also reviews what he will tell business leaders if such cuts become necessary.
Tough times present a great opportunity to focus on transformative IT efforts, opines the CIO of Accenture. While such efforts might require spending upfront, they save significant amounts of money. For example, Accenture consolidated 45o financial applications into a single instance of ERP, which helped the company dramatically reduce its IT budget.
In addition to consolidation, CIOs should consider using contract employees. That's what Corning's CIO has done to avoid the mass layoffs of the 2001 recession. That year, he had to dismiss more than half of his 1,200-person IT staff. Another good tip from the Corning exec: Breaking up big projects into more manageable chunks will help business leaders see clear results from IT investments.
Focusing on asset management can help a company ensure it only pays for the software licenses it actually uses, says the CIO of Travelport GDS. She is also a fan of using software-as-a-service applications where appropriate and swapping out site licenses for per-user or per-seat deals.