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More so than ever, periods of economic contraction demand that companies evaluate every aspect of how they operate their businesses. Typically this investigation starts by examining how a company can retain and sharpen its competitive edge while at the same time trimming and sometimes drastically cutting costs. Companies may also study internal processes to identify inefficiencies and explore methods to improve the speed of business.

One area most companies are re-evaluating in this recession is IT resources -- specifically, software resources. And what they are discovering is the need to streamline and simplify these resources. Many companies are finding that they work with multiple vendors, have too many licenses of software products and that they have agreed to inflexible license schemes that do not allow the business to get the most from its software investment. These companies are also realizing they aren't clear about who or what departments are using which tools and what versions of software tools are being used.

On the flip side, all of the activities just mentioned result in a long lead time to acquire new tools needed for projects, and result in massive amounts of overhead and paperwork in order to secure (evaluate, negotiate, procure, deploy) new tools. This affects productivity, project quality and timelines. Companies are looking for solutions that decrease these direct and indirect costs.

The emergence of software tooling is playing an increasing role in helping companies to redefine processes, reduce costs and consolidate software resources -- which all contribute to greater efficiencies and a competitive edge. Software assets comprise an important part of a company's cost structure. They are both a cost, and an indispensible enabling factor for most every business. The direct cost of commercial software is fairly straightforward to calculate and includes the cost to license and maintain a particular software package. The cost of custom software can be somewhat trickier to calculate and typically requires accounting for an entire project's costs, including man hours for implementation, consulting fees, development and testing, and the cost of any commercial software required.


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