I don't need to go into how tough things are out there. I talk to Microsoft Partners day in day out about what they are seeing. Some of it is good and some of it is bad but on the whole most are seeing that this is a time where change can be implemented.
At heart I am a techie and if given the option I will talk about the technology far over and above trying to sell the cost benefits to Partners and customers. But while I truly believe that the technology will sell itself, there needs to be a cost justification to move.
Microsoft UK has published this document, which I had chance to read yesterday and I think any IT Pro or IT manager should read it and then make sure the people who make the IT spending decisions also read it. The following are my thoughts on the documents.
Lots of IT employees will be taking the attitude of keeping there head down and weathering the storm. After all IT is still seen by a lot of companies as a necessary evil that is a drain on the bottom line.
A report was produced by Gartner that sees IT (as viewed by CEO's) as evolving to become one of the top three success factors by 2012. If you are in IT at your company today you will become a strategic asset (if you get it right) and a key differentiator for improving business agility and reducing cost.
Hence the reason I say the time is now. Any company is looking to reduce cost today, but at the same time they do not want to hindered employees from doing their jobs.
Microsoft is exactly the same - travel used to be a big part of my role and while it hasn't totally gone I am acutely aware of the cost involved. For this reason I will try to conduct any of my meetings via livemeeting. Try it free here. Once you get used to it, it really becomes the norm and not only will you not want to travel but you will no longer have to spend the dead time sitting in the car or train.
The cost savings are there to see - MSIT have written a case study outlining the savings.
As you can see $212m a year saved - $17m savings alone attributed to travel (45600 journeys)
Forrester has written an article on the Total Economic Impact of Microsoft Unified Communications. I would suggest that this is the starting point to prepare your business plan and cost justification.
Do it Now
There is a lot of reading above let alone the the question of implementation - but I am very confident that if you do this now your company will be in a lot better shape both in the near term and when the financial crisis turns the corner.
React now, be proactive there has never been a better time to implement change in behaviour of the employees as well as moving your company forward. When the CEO looks back in 12/18 months time it could be you that he remembers.
The time is now...