Smart Contract Talks Help an IT Department Save Big

AT&T, Hewlett-Packard offer better deals after Lafarge hires a negotiating advisor. Part 1 of 5.

Cost cutting in information technology looms over many corporate IT groups now, in these tough economic times. We're here to help with this 5-part series profiling tactical projects that you can execute in a few weeks to a few months, reaping rewards almost immediately.

Flaunt Your Cost-Cutting Smarts

E-mail writer Kim S. Nash and tell her about your money-saving project. Be sure to say how much the effort cost, what the financial returns were and how soon you saw them. Bonus points for projects implemented in three months or less, with substantial returns within a year. Your project may be featured in a story on or in CIO magazine.

CEOs expect the economy to grow at a skimpy 1.3 percent this year, according to a survey of 110 chief executives conducted by the Business Roundtable. That's the slowest growth rate predicted by CEOs since the post-9/11 and post-bubble year of 2002.

More ominous: Of those gloomy CEOs, 31 percent expect unemployment to increase in the next six months, up from 22 percent who thought so at the beginning of the year. When the boss thinks fewer people will be working, fewer people will be working.

You have to be smart to keep your job. One way to display your smarts is to seek and destroy all money-sucking technology waste at your company.

In our first installment, learn how Lafarge, a $6 billion manufacturer of cement aggregate, concrete and pave, saved seven figures by dealing more deftly with vendors AT&T and Hewlett-Packard. This reflects a correction to the originally posted version of this story. See the correction page for details.

In part 2, read how Gap, the clothing retailer, automated end-user access permissions, to speed up a tedious administrative process and save up to $1 million worth of the IT department's time. And by the way, the project also helps Gap better comply with PCI and Sarbanes-Oxley regulations, which streamlines audits and avoids fines.

In each part, we'll look at other money-saving ideas you can steal, including a green IT project at Washington Mutual, an attack on cell phone bills at Title Resource Group and an asset management effort at the U.S. Department of Defense. Stay tuned. You might just make yourself layoff-proof. Part 1: Smart Contract Talks Help an IT Department Save Big

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