IT's Leaner Lifestyle

Meticulous budgeting and economizing technologies have helped sculpt trim new IT outfits. Here's how IT will maintain its slimmer shape in 2011.

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Running for Cloud Cover

Chan is also looking outside of his IT organization for solutions. "I think we spend entirely too much time tinkering with hardware," he says. "Over time, we can outsource most of our IT infrastructure. Instead of buying and building and managing servers, potentially we could engage a cloud provider and rent capacity. We are experimenting in-house with cloud, but there are still a lot of security-related concerns."

Haggen Inc., a 32-store chain of supermarkets in the Pacific Northwest, has already extensively consolidated its data center operations by virtualizing servers. "Now we're looking at storage rationalization and optimization," says CIO Harrison Lewis. "Before, we might just acquire more storage, but now we're looking at Tier 2 and Tier 3 data and moving it off to a private cloud."

A recent internal study showed that 49% of data that Haggen had been storing hadn't been accessed in two years. This has prompted a more rigorous review of all IT assets, with an eye toward distinguishing exactly what offers a competitive advantage and should be kept in-house and what should be outsourced.

"If it's not an area where we need to do a great deal of customization, software-as-a-service makes sense," Lewis says. In 2011, Haggen will be evaluating other SaaS options, including Google's suite of productivity applications. "From everything I've seen so far, it can make sense for us," notes Lewis.

The bottom line, says Forrester Research analyst Bobby Cameron, is that companies will focus on continuing to drive down costs throughout 2011.

"As the IT organization focuses more on process, they're also consolidating IT, moving to shared services, and there is a huge acceleration in their ability to automate services," he says. "The whole concept of preprovisioned environments -- with cloud and virtualization -- takes automation to the nth degree.

"All of these accelerants are going to continue to drive down the cost of delivering IT," adds Cameron, not only in 2011, but for the foreseeable future.

Next: Cloud computing promises savings, delivers speed

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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