As the world economy limps inexorably towards recession, it is with certain inevitably that corporate eyes turn towards cost savings. Invariably this will mean the call to IT to look at reducing “support overheads” by reducing helpdesk heads or infrastructure expenditure.

Yet this is not how it should be. We in IT have been aware of “cost of ownership” for at least 10 years now, we’ve been aware that IT budgets are continuously tightened, and excepting the odd little bubble, which to be fair rarely impacts on our day to day lives, we should have spent much of our time working on ways of both reducing the overall, real-world cost of IT and also of educating our lords and masters that there is a cost to providing a quality service and to maintaining the infrastructure required to support even a stationary business.

Yet that is now not enough, for all departments will have been doing the same; all managers will have been ensuring that there is a constant campaign to ensure their budgets hold up both in times of plenty and financial strain. So you should have been doing more, you need to have been showing how investment in IT has been improving efficiency and boosting profits. IT projects should have had a clear goal and you should have had a mechanism for showing the business how much money you are saving them.

And as we enter the economic rainy day, this is the time for IT to be the first place for businesses to look for help, but not for the traditional cost cutting. IT departments should be in a position to help streamline those areas of the business that with tightening belts companies are being forced to investigate, where maybe caution prevailed. This is not a time for hand wringing and moping down the pub worried about IT jobs, this should be the time for IT Directors to step into the spotlight and help all other departments deliver the cost savings that will be required to sail their business through such troubled seas.