There isn't an area of technology management where cost is not a factor.
For many organizations, maintenance costs are a necessary evil, especially when certain customer-facing systems are crucial to business. But eliminating industry-standard 4-hour turnaround times in most hardware maintenance contracts is a risk many CFOs and some CIOs are willing to take during a recession. If it's not considered crucial, you can wager that someone in the board room is looking for ways to cut it out completely-or at least cut it down.
Sometimes, though, cost-cutting comes back to bite you on the back side when internal systems move at a snail's pace and worker productivity is detrimentally affected. Here's an example from the Computerworld article "Slashing IT maintenance budgets: Sign of the times":
It's hard to argue with the logic that says companies need to trim at every level of an organization. The caveat is understanding what is crucial to revenue and what is crucial to supporting revenue. Sometimes the two are very much in competition as they are seen as customer-centric versus an internal process. Many of those internal processes may not make the company money, but rather, may keep the company from losing revenue as it relates to rolling out a new product, of answering a client need or allowing a development team to work efficiently while on a key project. Understanding how to best balance the performance of everything (worker productivity, revenue, project efficiency, systems, etc.) is complex.
Having some built-in hardware and software failover capabilities and redundancies should help. But sometimes, things completely fail or die, and you are simply going to need to call in a vendor, and without a current maintenance contract, the company will be charged generally exorbitant hourly rates to fix. It's a tough situation.
Another issue is that maintenance costs themselves, while similar to insurance policies, are very high in terms of monthly costs and can be difficult to negotiate when the economy is good. Recessions change that a bit.
From the same article: