: Helping Enterprises Cut IT Costs"> For GTP, projects typically start with gaining an understanding of the true business objectives and performing an in-depth analysis of the IT infrastructure, which includes getting an accurate inventory of the IT environment. "Getting that information is key, because it builds the case for what you can consolidate," said Tomlin. Subsequent steps include analyzing current performance indicators, actual implementation, then re-analyzing performance to insure that objectives are met. IGS breaks the task down into four steps: assessment, design, implementation and operations, which can include outsourcing of that function or keeping it in-house. Those steps can be applied individually to servers, storage, networking or disaster recovery, but they often uncover other potential cost-reduction opportunities.Where the biggest opportunities for cost reduction are is a matter of debate and depends largely on the clients objectives. Most enterprises look to reduce head count, facilities expenses and future capital expenditures, but other savings can come out of hardware maintenance costs and software licensing costs. Tomlin maintained that "field technicians are probably the single most costly element of any infrastructure." Accenture has seen some of the biggest savings in its consolidation projects for clients result from reduced software licensing costs. The time frame for return on investment and the amount of the return also varies from one project to the next. Accenture typically sees "ROI in the order of $8 to $10 for every $1 invested in the consolidation project," said John Kaltenmark, a managing partner and chief architect at Accenture in Chicago, Ill. "We were able in one case to deliver over $13 million to the bottom line," he added. Such significant savings are driving an increasing number of Fortune 1000 companies toward consolidation. For Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, about 18 percent of its project work in North America is now focused on consolidation efforts and about 20 percent of its consultants are engaged in that work. And those numbers are expected to go up. "We still really dont know at end of day whether people will push through all the opportunities that are available to them once they get seriously into this infrastructure consolidation process," said Parkinson, who added that CGE&Y doesnt see anything on the horizon to derail the consolidation cycle.
For example, one IGS client began with a request to consolidate 100 Intel servers in one data center but found opportunities to save money on storage and networking. In the process, IGS found the client had 1.5 terabytes of unused storage, according to Brown.