If you're a managed service provider, make sure you don't brand yourself as an IT consultant. That's one of the key areas where chief information officers plan to cut their budgets for 2009, according to a new survey from the CIO Executive Board.
According to the survey findings:
- 61% of CIOs are currently re-evaluating their 2009 budgets
- 59% percent are trying to save money by renegotiating contracts with their vendors
- 59% are putting all nonessential projects on hold
- 49% are cutting the amount they spend on consultants and have restricted travel
Still, there are some key lessons here for MSPs:
- Stay close to your customers now, and help them prioritize their IT spending and projects for 2009.
- Stress the value of predictable IT costs -- which you can guarantee through your managed services.
- Investigate telepresence and collaboration technologies that can reduce the need for business travel.
- Get ready to negotiate hard on your fees. Come to customer meetings armed with key data points that show the value you delivered in 2008, so that you can maintain -- or even raise -- some fees in 2009.
- Keep traveling. Yes, keep traveling. I find that our best business opportunities arise at face-to-face events and conferences. Restricted travel budgets in 2009 means that people who attend events will have very clear goals and needs. The casual business traveler -- who isn't in a position to make a buying our outsourcing decision -- will be back at his or her desk in 2009.
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