THESE DAYS, WITH THE ECONOMY FALTERING and so many things uncertain, technology investments are being scrutinized to a degree never seen before. CEOs and CFOs are demanding real value?delivered upon payment?for their IT investments. They\u2019re sick and tired of paying up front for just the promise of functionality. I know of at least three separate efforts to collectively influence the practices of large vendors or to find a way to live without commercial software providers at all. Some of these are public. Others are well-financed private research projects. I\u2019m sure there are more perking around the country.As soon as a few large, high-profile companies figure out how to run their businesses without the help of one of the 800-pound gorillas, others will follow suit. There\u2019s a lot of frustration, anger and resentment out there. Unfortunately, some of the largest, most successful software companies seem blind to the real feelings of their customers. But as successful as they may be today, they\u2019ll need to seriously reexamine their business models if they want to still be in the game when this shift comes.CIOs, for their part, need to take advantage of this window of opportunity to leverage their buying power. They should work together to send a clear message to the industry about what they will and won\u2019t pay for.There is still much work to be done to realize the full benefits of what IT has to offer. Translation for vendors: There\u2019s still a whole lot of money to be made. The best way to get there is for CIOs and vendors to work together to develop products that solve real problems and work consistently and reliably.Senior Writer Meridith Levinson explains how we got into the current predicament and how we might get out in our cover story, "Let\u2019s Stop Wasting $78 Billion a Year," on Page 78. And in "A Letter to Our Suppliers," on Page 136, our CIO Confidential author issues a plea to vendors to market their products in a more realistic light? and why it\u2019s to their advantage to do so. I hope you like these articles. Please let me know what you think will improve the quality of packaged software and the practices of the software industry.