Chris J Powell

Strategy vs. Tactics: Cost Cutting Blues

As much of the world is fearing the return of a Recession, many of my clients are finding it difficult to face yet another reduction in their IT spending options.  Some are looking at a 3rd or 4th year in a row with less but others are making strong investments in technology.  What can account for this trend that has companies split almost down the middle?  My take is that those who got ahead of the curve and formed a Strategic Partnership with the business early are finding it easier to have the Organization fund a resurgence in IT Spending and those that are still primarily focused on keeping the lights on are once again faced with a declining budget.

It becomes a survival imperative to be armed with the right information and be ready to act in support of the organization at difficult times like this.  A trend that I recognize that is shifting back to the positive for the majority of my clients is a return to more Capital Expenditures as my clients have put off many major projects and stretched the life of hardware an extra year or two.  This has put a strain on their Operational Budgets with extended maintenance and more man hours to support aging equipment.  While this is a good thing for all those hardware vendors out there…it does add a new wrinkle to the day of an IT Leader…the dreaded Sales Call!


I can honestly say that I feel your pain, I sign up for those white papers and upon occasion I actually do put in valid data into the forms…and in actuality I do so because I need to know how I am doing in comparison to the others companies that are trying to eat away at your precious time.  Some of those front line sales reps are well…let’s just say that the churn and burn mentality is still a focus for some companies.

As the shift moves back to Capital Expenditures though, time is not the only commodity that is at risk of being taken from you.  The Bells and Whistles that are included in the next generation of hardware and software can make the decision making process even more of a challenge.  Look to the assistance that can really provide you with some Laser Focus.  The Vendor Landscape format that my Research Department has been publishing are bar none the best on the market.  Combined with functional Short List tools that aid in providing a custom starting point to ensure that not only you make the Right Decision but also the Right Size Decision which is even more important as there is no wiggle room for cost or time over runs on any project.


The other budget killer in today’s ultra competitive world of IT Spending is Software / Hardware Maintenance.  Having invested the time to be on multiple calls that look to Microsoft Licensing, Cisco Pricing and other Contract Review calls I can honestly say that our team can consistently help you put money back into your budget and provide nearly any company that we work with a positive ROI.  The complexity of modern software Licensing means that you should not go it alone when you enter into a new multi year service agreement.  Our experts are there to help.

Now much of what we have looked at today at Outward Glance appear to be all about the Strategy and where are the Tactics that can assist with the day to day headaches…that is me…I consider myself to be both a Strategic Partner but also that Tactical Advantage to my clients.  It can be said that no Strategy lasts the first contact with the enemy and I would completely agree.  You can over plan and be prepared for every eventuality and then as soon as it hits the fan…you find that all your planning was for nothing.  That does not have to be the case.  The way that I approach a Strategic Plan and the way that our documentation provides you the guidance is to always incorporate the Tactical Insight and Next Step Delivery of Best Practices.


Will the move from an Operational Budget back to a Capital Budget work for you…maybe not.  New Technologies like the Cloud (Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Software-as-a-Service, Desktop-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service etc), Mobility, Consumerization and more may keep your Operational Budget Stretched both with Support Costs as well as manpower but looking to these new Trends and focusing on the Right Sized Decisions with measured and focused steps will be the difference.


Well, I has been a lot of fun looking at this extended Series on Strategy vs. Tactics.




Chris J Powell



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