IT spending won’t ratchet up in the second half and companies are more cost-conscious than ever, but buyers are calling the shots and can get important concessions from suppliers.

These were a few of the conclusions of a recent panel discussion that Goldman Sachs Global Equity Research conducted with CIOs from Fidelity Investments Inc., Procter & Gamble Co., SBC Communications Inc. and its own company. And while the findings obviously cannot be projected, when CIOs from huge companies talk, people listen.

As a group, the CIOs said they don’t see spending increasing in the second half, as some industry observers have anticipated. But they emphasized how buyers hold all the cards.

“We were struck by the almost combative stance our CIOs took,” Goldman Sachs reported. “Our panel communicated a fierce determination to put greater scrutiny on purchases, squeeze maintenance dollars, get higher returns on their investments and eliminate unproductive time spent with too many vendors.”