Last week I talked to Craig Carpenter, marketing VP and general counsel at information management technology vendor Recommind. The company's recent survey found that employees at many large companies can't efficiently find what they need to do their jobs. The recession is exacerbating the problem, he said, because those same employees are having to do more with less.
The obvious answer, according to Recommind and others, is technology that will help those companies manage and easily retrieve their information. But we're in a recession. Companies are dealing with layoffs and cutbacks. How can they buy more technology? Carpenter's answer: the operational expenditures budget. He says:
Typically, an enterprise software company charges x number of dollars per seat for software, and it's paid all up front. But what they can do is work with customers within the operating expenditure budget. Maybe they pay monthly, or quarterly, over the course of a year or two... Maybe they pay as they use it, kind of like a software-as-a-service model.
After all, software vendors are as affected by the economy as their customers are. They're being forced to get creative -- not to mention more aggressive -- with their pricing options. They are more willing to work within customer constraints to get the business. A pay-as-you-use it arrangement is better than no arrangement at all.
But that doesn't mean justifying the purchase is suddenly easy. Carpenter says even working within the operational expenditures budget, such projects don't get the "green light" unless they can demonstrate some improvement in the bottom line.