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Top stories include the results of a Baker Robbins & Co survey on IT Staffing & Spending trends. Based on 2008 actual and 2009 projected IT spending and staffing, it provides an insight into the changes experienced by firms in response to the economic downturn. Key among the findings is that while IT spending was down substantially in terms of total dollars spent, IT spending and staffing reductions projected for 2009 were modest when viewed on a per-user basis. “This is a critical data point for understanding what drives IT spending and staffing,” says Sally Gonzalez, a director in BRCO’s strategic technology practice.

“There are limited opportunities to reduce many fixed IT spend items (WAN and telecom costs, facilities and network operating costs, software licensing contracts etc) without making major investments for transformational changes (such as centralizing and virtualizing a firm’s distributed technology infrastructure). Investments firms may hesitate to make in the current economic climate,” says Gonzalez. “Firms reported reductions in lawyer and staff headcounts between 2008 and 2009, positioning them to reduce IT spends and staffing in terms of total dollars spent and total IT headcount while still maintaining a constant spend and staffing ratio per user.

“The key question in our minds is: when will firms begin to make substantial changes in processes and service level expectations that enable them to fundamentally change their IT spending and staffing ratios? Only then will firms be able to influence profitability through meaningful efficiencies in IT.”
 
• The survey covered firms ranging in size from 80 to 2100 lawyers. Copies of the report are available to non-participants for $500. For more information or to purchase a copy of the report, please contact Sally Gonzalez at sgonzalez@brco.com