CIOs looking for ways to make budget cuts as a result of the government's austerity measures could consider a number of areas, suggests Ian Woosey, group IT and e-commerce director at Carpetright. "In the short term, there are a number of areas to look at that don't require large capex investment, can be done quickly and deliver rapid ROI — other than headcount, which is often the first area people look at."
1. There are real benefits to be had by talking directly to suppliers. You may be surprised how many are receptive to renegotiating contracts on mutually favourable terms.
2. Telco costs have reduced enormously in recent years. If you haven't reviewed your voice, data and mobile costs very recently you could be throwing money away. Let people know that you monitor call spend and watch the call costs subsequently drop, especially if you have a clear usage policy in place upfront. Nobody really needs an iPhone, by the way.
3. Build in benchmark clauses in contracts that mean you can guarantee you are within X per cent of the market price during the lifetime of a contract.
4. Be suspicious of strategic projects. Strategic is a term often used to mean expensive with a poor business case.
5. Monitor service level agreements (SLAs) with suppliers and enforce penalties. Don't rely solely on suppliers to tell you how they are doing.
6. Review SLAs. Has anything changed meaning you can relax any without impacting the business? If so, do it.
7. Get rid of individual printers for office-based users. Implement centralised printing hubs — costs drop dramatically and it saves trees as people really do print less. You will be unpopular for a while though.
8. Introduce online auctions for consumables across the business. You can't lose and I have seen some very impressive results.
9. Beware the benchmarking consultant — use sparingly, if at all.
10. Stop all projects where you personally don't know why you are doing them.
For a detailed account on how Woosey and other CIOs think the Comprehensive Spending Review is likely to affect private sector IT budgets, read Peter Bartram's feature Spending review will force budget cuts for all CIOs.