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Your IT budget: Look to the future when cutting costs

Laurie M. Orlov | June 8, 2008
The last time the economy soured, CIOs responded as if the sky were falling. This time, you need to plan ahead to preserve your organization's ability to grow again when needed.

Tap ideas from your business constituents, too. They know in their hearts what they truly need now and what can be put off until the next quarter or next year. Ask their advice on how you can help them sustain the company while saving money. Once these conversations begin, you and your staff can suggest ways to ways to save space, energy, time, maintenance, devices and even paper. While you're with them, take the opportunity also to answer their questions about IT spending that they may not understand.

Why You'll Succeed

You're probably wondering whether this approach can work if IT is such a compelling cost-reduction target. I think it can because this time around, CIOs are better communicators. They've had to be to recover from the last round of cutbacks.

CIOs today know how to make a business case, and how to explain IT's impact on profit and revenue. Today's IT executive is also experienced at explaining the value of strategic IT positions as well as the need for low-cost, high-potential new hires. He or she is well-positioned and skilled enough to listen to staff and business peers. CIOs who lived through the last poorly managed slashing and burning of IT are wiser about shaping the future that their organization needs.

Laurie M. Orlov does research and consulting on business and technology strategy. She is a former vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research.



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