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Special Issue: Affordable IT

Wait a minute: Isn't the economy coming around, and IT spending on the rise? Yes, but those upticks won't change IT's focus on saving a buck. In a study by Forrester Research published earlier this year, 54 percent of IT executives cited "cutting IT costs" as their first or second priority for the year.

With the prevalence of open-source software, diverse channels for new and used equipment, and a wider range of outsourcing services, penny-pinching is no longer just a professional IT skill; it's an art form.

"Deploying old PCs, using PCs as servers, avoiding newer technologies--you name it, we've probably done it," says an IT executive at a large West Coast bank. "It may not be the best solution, but if that's what it takes to get something started, then that's what happens."

While such creativity is a fact of life at most IT shops, it's not something most execs are bragging about. Indeed, most of the people we interviewed for this story spoke on condition of anonymity. But maybe it's time to admit--horror of horrors--that the most efficient solution isn't always the state-of-the-art technology sold by the leading vendor capitalizing on the latest industry trend. Maybe, for some projects, "good enough" really is good enough.

Savings Strategies

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