Neoris’s Claudio Muruzabal

The average cost for Microsoft Outlook is $500 per user per year, according to the president of the global IT and business consulting firm Neoris, Claudio Muruzabal.

For Lotus Notes, the cost drops to $350 per user per year. Using google’s Gmail option ” and still keeping your company’s email address domain ” is by far the least expensive option, at $50-$100 per user per year.

In tough times, multinationals and other companies look to stretch their dollars, pesos and reais, and Muruzabal was showing how smarter use of technology can help accomplish just that during WorldCity’s CEO Club gathering today at the Coral Gables Hyatt.

The CEO Club is a private gathering for the top executive at South Florida’s 1,100-plus multinational companies and is held every other month. About three dozen companies were represented, including Benetton, Ryder, DHL, Jones Lang LaSalle, Ingram Micro, LAN, Abode, CBRE, Medtronic, Novartis and Zim American.

“Large enterprises with 10,000 employees are moving to this environment,” Muruzabal said, an environment that includes open-source, or non-proprietary software.

Another example of finding savings in technology: “You probably don’t need the same number of (software) licenses if you have fewer employees. People say, “I have a multiyear contract. I can’t renegotiate.’ Yes, you can,” he said.

Neoris, which has its global headquarters in Miami, is a subsidiary of CEMEX, a $22 billion building materials company based in Mexico. Muruzabal became CEO in 2004. The company has 3,500 consultants in 14 countries, inclduing Latin America, the Middle East and Europe.

But saving money is not the only advantage technology offers. It increases efficiency and allows companies to maintain a closer relationship with their customers.

“It is no longer just what you do internally with IT,” he said. “But how you can extend your reach to your clients.”

An example: How Amazon will offer book titles it believe fit your profile. Done properly, Muruzabal said, it is a positive.

The power and capacity of computers is also changing the environment, allowing the New York Times to cost effectively digitize its archives rapidly and not at great expense, or allowing companies through “cloud computing” to outsource their hardware needs to companies like google and Amazon ” thereby saving on energy costs associated with running their owner servers.