Let's face it. During an economic downturn, every dollar earned, spent or saved seems to carry more weight than it does when the economy is growing. With more financial pressure on carriers these days, IT departments are under more scrutiny to rationalize projects and expenditures.Rationalization translates into greater discipline in measuring and managing the costs of IT hardware, software and projects-and the desire to get a more comprehensive, enterprisewide picture of those assets.

In 2000, Gartner Inc., a Stamford, Conn.-based technology research and consulting firm, began receiving more inquiries from clients asking about how to measure and manage the value of information technology, according to Michael W. Smith, vice president in Gartner Measurement.

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