Pitching and winning your new tech solutions
Being an IT leader is one of the most difficult balancing acts in the modern workforce.
On the one hand, you’re providing the hardware, software and services your business needs to remain competitive or even gain an advantage in the marketplace. On the other, you’re dealing with senior managers with different agendas who may put pressure on your decisions or your budget.
So, when you need the go-ahead from upper management to make an IT purchase that will benefit the company, how do you cut through the red tape and ensure you’re listened to?
Explain the savings
One of the challenges of IT is that it’s still like a utility – people don’t notice it till something goes wrong. But when something does go wrong, you need to find solutions fast, or your business can suffer.
Data breaches, for example, can cost an organisation more than $150 per record compromised, according to a 2016 survey by Corporate Information Technologies. And with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) now in effect, there are stiff penalties for companies that compromise Union citizens’ data, regardless of their location.
More broadly, downtime is expensive, whether it’s the result of a data breach, malware infection or some other form of cyber-attack. How expensive? It’s a simple per-hour calculation: operating costs (including staff, services, utilities, and other ongoing expenses) times average revenue.
Whether the resulting figure is large or small (the Rand Group says it’s expensive, ranging from $100,ooo to $5 million per hour, depending on the size and type of company), it’s a loss you won’t want to take.
Discuss the benefits
A July 2017 study from the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School found that you can, in fact, buy happiness. In a nutshell, paying someone else to do a task, freeing up your own time, puts a smile on your dial.
In a business context, that means using software, automation and other tools to free workers from routine tasks, so they can concentrate on strategic, value-adding work. It’s good business: investments in automation can generate 4x return on investment.
This transforms IT from being a simple utility (providing access to email, files and other basic services) to a dynamic and vital contributor to the organisation’s success. So, if you want to sell the benefits of IT to your managers, illustrate that the budget you require will ultimately be paid back with the gift of time!
Cut the jargon
IT can be one of the most intimidating departments to deal with, as the walls to entry are particularly high, given the extensive use of jargon in the industry.
So, if you need to communicate an IT issue with management, keep the jargon to a minimum. Make sure you're clear and concise with what you need. Outline the facts, highlight the business benefits of your IT spend and how it will save the company time and money.
You've got this.