Five radical ideas for CIOs to save their 2009 IT Budget

By Eric Lundquist  |  Posted 2008-11-26

You've got a little over a month before the start of 2009. If you are like a lot of CIOs, you still don't know what you have for a budget for next year. The uncertain economy is certain to mean continuing budget reviews, scrutinizing of all capital expenditures including IT costs and just a lot of time spent writing memos, sitting in meetings and face time with the CEO and CFO. With the idea that the best defense is a good offense, here's five ideas to change the dynamics of the IT budget in your company.

1. A big cut in your operating costs. How many times do you need to explain that 70, 80 or even 80 percent of your budget goes to keeping the IT lights on? Instead of doing one of those endless reviews about number of servers, IT staff and data center costs, get radical. Set a number on the number of applications you can support. If you have several hundred now (not unusual), say you can support 25 and leave it up to the business managers to fight it out what to keep and what to toss. Once you get to the 25, renegotiate your software licenses, move those 25 to redundant, or virtualized, servers and shut down the rest.

2. Stop buying laptops. How crazy has it become where you are spending a lot of your time buying laptops, retrieving laptops from laid off employees and trying to figure out how to unload aging, much abused laptops? Here's the deal. You support the applications, the high paid, traveling exec buys his or her own laptop. When they get canned, you remotely wipe the corporate apps and data (it really isn't that hard anymore) and they get to start their new career with their old laptop.

3. Stop buying printers and printer supplies. You maintain one decent printer for each department. Believe me if the printer is more than a couple of cubes away, no one will use it. If Mr. V.P. wants a printer, fine, let him buy one and when the color cartridge runs dry let him (or her) go out and spend $45 for a new cartridge with their own unreimbursed nickel.

4. Don't go buying new Blackberries and new iPhones for everyone. In fact, rethink whether you should be in the business of supplying cellphones and paying the bill. Times are tough, someone wants a touch screen Blackberry, they buy one. Again, you supply the corporate software apps, they buy the hardware and service contracts. Sorry, but that's the deal.

5. Shut down corporate access to everything except necessary corporate apps. No eBay, no fantasy sports teams, no IM, YouTube, web surfing, no Internet nothing except the business of your business. You won't make many friends, but you will be able to say that at the start of 2009 you clamped down on IT costs.

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