As if the "R" word wasn't bad enough, the "D" word is apparantly being discussed at more than a mere whisper.

A new poll put out by CNN found that 60% of the American public thinks it's likely we're heading into a depression; not a recession, but depression. And I don't mean the kind that can be eased by Prozac.

At the same time, the Small Business Association (SBA) says small business loans have dropped 30% this fiscal year (which just ended on September 30) from a year ago.

Get Smart

Now that I've depressed the H-E-double hockey sticks out of you; here's where technology comes in to help tighten the budget for a bumpy ride. Look for technologies that shave money off the bottomline:

-Software as a Service
-Cloud Computing
-Off-site data storage
-Thin clients

By offloading as much of the IT department somewhere else; businesses can save on lower head count, less money on IT consultants, fewer servers and other racks of hardware taking up valuable office square footage. Less gear means less money. Less gear means less money on utilities to keep all those boxes cool.

Whether we're heading into a protracted recession or depression is up to the economists to call. But, it doesn't take the ghost of Milton Friedman to see our ox is in a ditch.

Three words: simplify, simplify, simplify. What you do with your IT department now could mean the difference between life or death for your company in the months to come.