Managing IT in a Downturn

Managing IT in a Downturn: A Pocket Guide

STEWART MITCHELL
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: IT Governance Publishing
Pages: 59
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5hh5h1
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  • Book Info
    Managing IT in a Downturn
    Book Description:

    In this book, well-known IT journalist Stewart Mitchell gives you practical, hard-hitting advice on the best ways to make your money go further. The book shows a solid grasp of the issues surrounding IT for business, and is written in a jargon-free style that will be easy for you to follow. One option you have in the downturn is to choose innovative solutions. Mitchell offers you a cool appraisal of the advantages and disadvantages of Open Source Software in helping you to cut costs. The book also considers whether cloud computing is the right answer if you are looking to economise on server management and administration.

    eISBN: 978-1-905356-77-5
    Subjects: Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 2-4)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. 5-5)
  3. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    (pp. 6-6)
  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. 7-7)
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 8-9)

    ‘It’s a recession when your neighbour loses his job,’ said US president Harry Truman. ‘It’s a depression when you lose yours.’ As senior executives tighten the corporate purse strings, IT departments will need to justify their expense if IT workers are to avoid feeling the fullest effects of the upheaval gripping global economies.

    While IT has become integral to every company doing business and can never be eliminated as a cost, with credit in short supply and revenues down, companies are putting new projects on hold and cutting out the deadwood.

    ‘The biggest problem of the credit crunch is that...

  6. CHAPTER 1: COUNT YOUR CHICKENS
    (pp. 10-11)

    Only a lunatic looks before he leaps, and it would be equally impetuous to start making plans for recession, including cutting jobs and system functionality, without first surveying the lie of the land.

    Software audits should be an ongoing part of best practice, but where this isn’t the case, it is essential to work out exactly what assets the IT department has, from hardware to software licences and employee headcount.

    The wisdom of this is highlighted by pondering just how much you are overpaying for software, either by buying too many licences, buying products that are too advanced for the...

  7. CHAPTER 2: SWEATING RESOURCES
    (pp. 12-16)

    With the ready cash for IT projects thinner than a size zero supermodel, IT managers need to find ways of making ends meet, of stretching the departmental housekeeping money like some postwar rationing housewife.

    This requires the sort of austerity measures that ‘back in the day’ saw socks darned to eke out a little more life from them; yet this is exactly the mentality that will impress the bean counters.

    Instead of socks, however, we’re talking silicon, and how to keep it running longer to postpone major investments until the fug of recession has passed.

    ‘It doesn’t really matter what...

  8. CHAPTER 3: CANCELLING PERIPHERAL PROJECTS
    (pp. 17-20)

    As IT departments batten down the hatches for the expected rough economic ride, one of the first decisions for CIOs and other decision makers is which projects are worthwhile pursuing, and which technology processes and plans are a luxury. Persuading the financiers to open their purse strings for new projects looks close to impossible.

    According to the Corporate Executive Board, 61% of companies are cancelling or scaling back IT projects, and for IT managers it will be critical to build a strong case for any projects they believe to be critical.

    Experts across the board expect all non-essential projects and...

  9. CHAPTER 4: STAFF IN THE FIRING LINE
    (pp. 21-26)

    For many organisations, the easiest place to start trimming costs as IT budgets are pared down, is the wage bill. According to research aired by Gartner’s Ellen Kitzis at Symposium/ITxpo 2008, 37% of the average IT budget goes on staff, which makes it ripe for reduction.

    Even before the recession had begun to cut, companies from the financial services industry, retailers and hardware manufacturers had announced sweeping job cuts, yet some consideration can minimise redundancies (and associated payouts) for many companies.

    Kitzis highlighted three areas where companies can reduce the wage bill without laying staff off, and the most important...

  10. CHAPTER 5: GOOD HOUSEKEEPING
    (pp. 27-31)

    There are a thousand ways to save money in the workplace, and although not all are suited to every company, a good examination of outgoings can highlight areas where the company is wasting money, or not getting the full dose for dollar.

    Already part of many enterprise landscapes, IP telephony (VoIP) could see a surge in demand in the recession, according to Forrester Research. The company believes plans to reduce costs will drive the adoption of voice over broadband at the expense of traditional phone networks.

    Providers claim they can deliver cost savings of 50% on a total phone bill,...

  11. CHAPTER 6: OPEN SOURCE
    (pp. 32-37)

    When managing costs in the face of a shrinking IT budget, software has to be one of the main concerns. Software makes up a third of all IT budgets in many firms, according to a 2008 software survey by McKinsey and The Sand Hill Group, and if you can eliminate the price paid for software at a stroke, then open source becomes one of the easiest ways to slash lumps from IT spend.

    Open source software has one huge advantage over the software used in most corporations — the edifying fact that it is, at least in principle, free. Perhaps nowhere...

  12. CHAPTER 7: BOARDROOM BATTLES
    (pp. 38-41)

    A key part of managing IT over the next two years will be managing boardroom expectations and exposure, and making the department’s achievements as visible as possible.

    IT is normally seen as a cost centre, a non-revenue-earning strand of the business, one which non-IT executives may want to rein in, especially if the funds being channelled into IT are coveted elsewhere.

    The marketing director, for example, would far rather spend £2 million on advertising to bring in new customers than rolling out an internal instant messaging system — even if that system might generate £3 million in cost savings.

    ‘This part...

  13. CHAPTER 8: EVERYTHING’S GOING VIRTUAL
    (pp. 42-45)

    Of all the cost-cutting measures open to businesses in the recession, the most cast iron may be virtualisation. It’s already been a hot topic for more than 18 months and if IT managers haven’t already started using these data centre savings tactics, the finance department will want to know why.

    Of 100 companies questioned by US internet service provider Star, 43% cited virtualisation tools as a key way to protect their organisation from the current economic climate.

    ‘One of the biggest challenges facing small businesses today is access to finance, so as the economic slowdown continues, the number one priority...

  14. CHAPTER 9: LOOKING FORWARDS TO EXPANSION
    (pp. 46-54)

    The recession could prove something of a catalyst that forces IT infrastructure and software to change into a more fluid beast where fixed costs are shifted into variable costs via a bevy of new technologies.

    If offshore outsourcing could be the cure to labour costs, then hosted services, cloud computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) offer cost-cutting potential for hardware and software.

    If leading luminaries aren’t talking from their proverbials, ‘cloud computing’ will change the architectural landscape beyond recognition, while SaaS could make high-end enterprise software available to medium-sized business.

    Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a technologist at IBM, likens cloud computing’s...

  15. APPENDIX: FURTHER READING
    (pp. 55-56)
  16. ITG RESOURCES
    (pp. 57-59)