It has been hard to avoid the subject of 'lean IT', 'surviving the recession' and so on recently, and that's hardly surprising, given the state of the economy.

Not many days pass when I don't hear something along the lines of what CIOs might/should be doing to combat tough times. Having also observed the downturn of the early 1990s and the dot-com collapse in the early part of this decade, I've had plenty of time to chew over these ideas and so, since everybody else has had their say here's my take on seven types of CIO behaviour in a recession.

Ostriches. These large, flightless company CIOs have done the equivalent of burying their heads in the sand and are considering selling their feathers for dusters and skin for leather. They plan to sit out the recession, spending as little as humanly possible. The CEO is fine with this as he has long suspected that IT's all for the birds anyway.

Sloths. Often assumed dead but still seen in remote areas, this breed of CIO moves at glacial pace and can often be seen in similar habitats to the ostrich. Deals will take an age to broker and some SAP project discussions are thought to date back to the last Ice Age.

Chameleons. This intuitive creature changes with the environment. They are currently seen to be investing in conferencing and other cost-saving technologies.

Cats. Sleek, intelligent animals that can move very quickly when necessary, for example when threatended by the prospect of boot or sack. This form of CIO is currently adapting by leaping onto SaaS and other service-based offerings.

Camels. They store resources by filling up at the end of the high season (a.k.a. Q4) before liquidity become hard to find.

Hummingbirds. Migratory birds that will fly enormous distances in order to save cost through extensive use of offshore conditions.

Zag-ziggers. These rarely seen, predatory (and possibly mythical) creatures see the opportunity to buy market share by investing more now and taking ground from ostriches and other vulnerable forms.