4. Cut back on upgrades and overpriced packages This prescription has become so standard that it's almost become a cliche. But it's no less useful for that. "If your IT department rules the roost and tends to be tech-driven, you've probably fallen into the trap of upgrading your software too often," says Sykes. "You need a balanced view of what upgrades are required for those systems that survive the cull."
At Gartner, Gomolski refers to "a lot of people" who are turning away from richly-specified project management tools. She says, "They are looking at substituting lower-cost alternatives without disastrous consequences."
5. Vendor management When it comes to managing vendor relationships, Gomolski suggests that many IT departments are still doing a "bad job" of managing vendor relationships.
"There's a lot of low-hanging fruit to be picked. Getting more process-related with vendor contracts and putting in some more automation is going to be one solution," she says.
Richard Sykes suggests going to vendors and saying, 'We're both in this situation. What is it that we can do between us that's in both our interests?' This may not be about getting rid of people, it may simply be about adjusting behaviour."
6. Assess alternatives Investigating outsourcing and software-as-a-service (SaaS) is recommended.
At Gartner, Gomolski seems slightly cautious. "Is Pepsi going to migrate off SAP anytime soon?" she asks. "I don't think so. But for a far-flung part of their enterprise that can't support the costs of a full implementation, perhaps a SaaS solution does make sense," she adds.
At the Corporate IT Forum, Roberts seems more bullish. This month, Roberts is organising a seminar that features representatives from "five household-name corporates" who have been running pilot schemes involving Google Apps.
Google Apps' current situation reminds Roberts of open source three or four years ago. The company's online productivity suite, it seems, is beginning to colonise IT departments.
But there are differences. Many IT departments have learned the hard way that open-source software isn't necessarily a low-cost panacea.
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