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"If you sit back and focus merely on cutting costs and beating up suppliers, you are not helping the business," said Mark Raskino, research director at Gartner. "A downturn is often a good time to iron out inefficient practices."
Raskino said IT departments should be aiming to switch off at least 10% of systems that have a low impact on business.
"Most organisations have a portfolio of legacy systems that exist in parts of the business that have resisted change," he said. "Shutting these down will save money and time, show that you are looking more broadly at the business and free up money to invest in new projects."
Gartner vice-president John Mahoney warned IT directors to be ready for supplier consolidation during 2003. He said most technology sectors will experience consolidation and advised IT directors to ensure their contracts have the agility to cope with the turbulent times ahead.
"Understand your contract and what happens when suppliers consolidate or cease trading and make sure you have effective escrow arrangements," he said.
New year's resolutions for IT directors
- Switch off at least 10% of legacy systems in 2003
- Prepare for some of your IT suppliers to consolidate or close
- Formulate an IT marketing initiative
- Create a real-time enterprise vision and roadmap, then sell it to the management team
- Pilot Web services and instant messaging - two key real-time enterprise technologies.
Source: Gartner, December 2002