Before anything can be done to cut spending or realign the IT portfolio with the intended strategy and architecture, a baseline examination of the portfolio must be undertaken to ascertain the big picture. A baseline will document the number and types of vendors associated with each technology component, such as hardware, software, or services, and indicate how much each is compensated. Start with what you know, and then assume you don't know much.

Remember to count the "invisible invaders:" suppliers whose products are buried in equipment or those you inherit when a supplier merges with or is acquired by another company.

The baseline may uncover surprises; for example, you may have more suppliers than estimated, or you may have several contracts with one supplier.

You may find many suppliers that don't have contracts. Companies often find that more than 60 percent of their suppliers either never signed agreements or are operating under expired contracts.

You may discover buying that's being done without consideration for whether the product fits within your IT architecture.

While this phase is not complicated, it demands rigor. Some clients want to skip or abbreviate the portfolio inventory and assume that they already know the contents of their portfolio. While it's true that most of the information is available, in general the information has never been pulled together into a single analysis tool. As a result, the information is not actionable.

Creating a baseline is not easy, and payback is not immediate, yet a baseline is the only sound basis upon which enterprises can launch their vendor leveraging and rationalization efforts. Baselining intents must be explicit, clearly connected with intended uses and aligned to ultimate goals.

To learn more about making technology procurement a major force in achieving your IT organization's objectives, including the steps you can take to leverage this critical function, order the complete report at (781) 648- 8700 or via e-mail service@cutter.com.

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