In the Wall Street Journal, Peter Whatnell, CIO of Sunoco was interviewed about how the economic downturn is affecting his department and the company's use of technology.
Here's a link to the article
Though I have a great deal of respect for his comments, from a business perspective, I have been reticent about investing in companies that build direct sales forces to sell to organizations such as Peter's. The appeal of investing in companies that provision customers remotely, with salesfolk who can demonstrate the benefits of the product/service without SE's, or investing in consumer facing solutions, is much more appealing than the front loading of expenses to build, train, and support direct field sales efforts. Of course, selling to Enterprise customers via indirect channels, maintains some allure.
In the interview, Peter says that one should 'never waste a good crisis' to rethink your business and cites having 'interest' in looking at new applications if they offer 90% of the functionality at 10% of the cost......