When we buy a car, we expect to drive it—usually on a daily basis. Sure, there are a few people—like comedian and car lover Jay Leno—who buy cars, put them into a garage, and sometimes never use or even look at them again. But most of us look at our needs, add a few "wants," and come up with a car package that is going to get us where we need to go safely, securely, and maybe with a bit of style.

So why do companies act more like Jay, the car collector, than the regular Joe when it comes to IT purchases? Just about every company has acquired and deployed software and hardware that sits on or under someone's desk and is never used. Somebody thought it was a good idea at some point. Somebody bought it. And now it sits, taking up valuable real estate and maybe some valuable IT time.

When I met with the Kimberly-Clark team in 2004 to discuss its then recent and early Office 2003 migration, I really wanted to know why the company made the upgrade. What was its driving factor? Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Kimberly-Clark has nearly 56,000 employees worldwide and operations in 35 countries. Its global brands are sold in more than 150 countries. Every day, 1.3 billion people use Kimberly-Clark products, such as Kleenex, Scott, Andrex, Huggies, Pull-Ups, and Kotex. This is not a small operation. And the answer to my questions was definitely interesting.

The customers' IT team did a beautiful job of repeating Microsoft's marketing ...

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