November's CIO Year Ahead Summit wrapped up with an open "town hall" session in which \n\nparticipants tackled the toughest problems in IT. Our starting premises: \n\nThe current global economic crisis affects companies across all industries.\n\nTrimming and tweaking won't suffice; you need to think in terms of crisis management.\n\nBudgets, people, operations and supplier relations will all need to change.\n\nSeven members of the CIO Hall of Fame led tabletop discussions, then convened onstage to \n\nshare their own and their groups' ideas for navigating a turbulent 2009. Here are some of \n\nthe highlights:\n\nYou have to cut services, plain and simple. Some people scoffed and said, "They \n\n[businesspeople] will never go for it." These people clearly weren't thinking in crisis mode \n\nyet. Advice from the Hall of Famers: Start having conversations now with business leaders \n\nabout priorities and what services you'd cut if needed. That will simplify things when the \n\ntime comes.\n\nKeith Morrow, CIO at Blockbuster (a business that entered emergency mode well ahead of the \n\ncurrent recession), said his executive team developed three contingency plans: expected, \n\nworst case and better case. Doreen Wright, former CIO of Campbell Soup, suggested an \n\nexercise in which you pretend you're bankrupt and talk about what you have to do to survive. \n\nThen look at what you can add back. That will get you much further than making cuts based on \n\nyour current budget.\n\nGet your vendors to pony up, said former Motorola CIO Patty Morrison. Have an adult \n\nconversation: We need you to take out 25 percent of our costs; what do we need to change to \n\ndo that?\n\nStop capital expenditures quickly\u2014that will give you some breathing room to find other \n\nareas of efficiencies.\n\nDevelop tight telecommuting policies. Why spend all that money on facilities for staff who \n\ncould just as easily work from home? Deploy converged devices (and keep multiple redundant \n\ndevices to a minimum). Use desktop virtualization to avoid the costs of moving equipment \n\nwhen employees change their workspace.\n\nA common theme underlying everything: You have to know your data, your own numbers and your \n\ncost of consumption, in order to have intelligent conversations about where to invest and \n\ncut back in the first place.