This year has been tough for many organizations that manage IT infrastructure — the hardware, software, and operational support required to provide application hosting, network, and end-user services. Highly uncertain business conditions have resulted in tighter budgets. Many infrastructure managers have rushed to put tactical cost reductions in place — canceling projects, rationalizing contractors, extracting vendor concessions, and deferring investments to upgrade hardware and software.

We have conducted more than 50 discussions with heads of infrastructure at Fortune Global 500 companies over the past six months to get a sense of the issues they are wrestling with. Clearly, infrastructure leaders must meet 2013 budgets while ensuring they can address critical challenges in 2014 and beyond. They can do so by pulling 11 levers.

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