Navigating the Storm: Strategies for IT Leaders to Combat Rising IT Costs

Cost Saving Strategies for IT leaders

In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, IT leaders are facing unprecedented challenges as they grapple with the rising costs associated with inflation, talent acquisition, and increasing expenses in SaaS and cloud services.

However, the most successful CIOs are not merely reacting to these challenges but proactively navigating the storm by aligning with the C-suite and implementing strategic measures to combat escalating IT costs.

Understanding the Landscape

Inflation may have tempered from its peak in 2022, but IT budgets remain under immense pressure. Global organizations operating in countries with high inflation rates, such as Poland, India, or Turkey, continue to experience substantial challenges. Even in the United States, where inflation has moderated, the technology talent gap and double-digit increases in SaaS and cloud costs persist.

According to a July 2023 survey by IDC, the IT line items most affected include rising tech salaries, SaaS, and PaaS costs. CIOs are adapting by reassessing options like staff cuts, downgrading service level agreements, and exploring ways to enhance productivity to counteract labor cost increases.

Strategic Decision-Making

To effectively combat rising costs, CIOs emphasize the importance of strategic decision-making. Andrew Blau from Deloitte Consulting advocates for protecting strategically important digital transformations, as they provide long-term benefits and enhance flexibility and adaptability. The decision-making process should involve close collaboration between the CIO and CEO to ensure a collective and informed approach.

Danielle Phaneuf, Partner at PwC, highlights the necessity for CIOs to evaluate their business values, strategy, and goals before implementing any mitigation steps. This approach ensures that cost-cutting measures align with broader business objectives, preventing potential setbacks caused by a lack of alignment with the C-suite.

Navigating Cloud Costs as IT Leaders

While migrating to the cloud offers numerous benefits, it comes with its own set of challenges. Richard Wiedenbeck, CTO and Chief Transformation Officer at Ameritas Life Insurance, notes that despite moving a significant portion of the IT budget to the cloud, infrastructure costs have remained in check. However, SaaS costs have increased by 20 to 25%, posing a considerable challenge.

Wiedenbeck advises a meticulous assessment of the value of services against increased costs. He suggests making well-informed decisions that balance cost, risk, and value. In one example, implementing a stricter data archiving and retention policy allowed significant savings of about $3 million.

Savvy Negotiations and Vendor Partnerships

CIOs emphasize the importance of negotiating with software vendors to control costs. Adjusting contracts, asking for discounts, and exploring flexible payment structures can contribute to cost savings. Additionally, building mutually beneficial relationships with vendors, offering added value through introductions or product integrations, can result in more flexible pricing arrangements.

Phaneuf and McKee both stress the need for a collaborative and mutually beneficial partnership with vendors. CIOs should be prepared for give-and-take negotiations, seeking flexibility on pricing when additional value is introduced.

Tackling Talent Costs as IT Leaders

The escalating price of tech talent poses a significant challenge for IT budgets. Post-pandemic, remote work has blurred geographical salary differentials, leading to increased competition for skilled professionals. David McKee suggests exploring alternatives such as recruiting more senior personnel or downsizing teams strategically.

Wiedenbeck introduces the concept of a “hot jobs bonus” to address talent costs. By offering a variable salary kicker based on market conditions, organizations can create a more flexible approach to compensating high-demand skills, adapting to changing market dynamics.

Adapting with Flexibility and Efficiency

Adapting to rising IT costs requires flexibility, efficiency, and a well-thought-out plan. Deloitte’s Blau emphasizes the importance of planning while cautioning against over-reliance on predictions. Collaboration with the CEO and a deep understanding of where inflation impacts the company are crucial.

PwC’s Phaneuf underscores the significance of strategic digital transformation plans during times of high inflation. Efficiency becomes paramount, and CIOs should explore technological business reinvention opportunities to optimize resilience in both the short and long term.


Navigating the storm of rising IT costs requires a proactive and strategic approach from IT leaders. By aligning with the C-suite, evaluating options based on business values, and making well-informed decisions, CIOs can effectively combat the challenges posed by inflation, talent costs, and increasing expenses in SaaS and cloud services. In the face of these challenges, flexibility, efficiency, and collaboration are the keys to ensuring the long-term resilience of IT budgets and the success of digital transformations.

Direct Sourcing Whitepaper

Employer Demo

Sign up for SkillGigs Newsletter and Stay Ahead of the Curve

Subscribe today to get the latest healthcare industry updates