Many members of the C-Suite put technology spending on the bottom of their list of priorities when it comes to capital investment. Some see the spending levels as buying a Cadillac when a Chevrolet will do. Often times this reluctance to spend ends up costing more. There are the executives who demand that desktops be replaced only every 5 years. Unfortunately, that next system upgrade can’t be handled by 5 year old desktops. Then the company is faced with replacing hundreds (or several thousand) desktops. Compounding the problem is that server infrastructures groan under the weight of data growing exponentially and new users coming on board daily.
The real problem is that many of those tasked with making the case for technology investment lack the ability or skillset to make the case for these investments. How do you convince a skeptical CEO? Or worse, a business owner.
For many the presence of technology in their organization is no different than the electricity that powers their business. How would they be affected if there was a catastrophic failure of the utility grid?
To be honest, the best approach is to use one or two ‘scare tactics’. Presenting the scenarios of what if we don’t. Here’s my TOP FIVE recommendations to get your message across:
1. FORGET THE DATA AND THE CHARTS. DRAW THEM A PICTURE. I saw a Tech Consultant making a presentation that showed a tiny engine pulling a huge train uphill. He really got the message across! Here’s where the Scare Tactics come in. Drive home to them that the company cannot continue to grow with its current hardware/software infrastructure.
2. DON’T USE I.T. JARGON. I know it feels good to demonstrate how advanced you are in the world of technology. Why not just speak a foreign language instead? The result will be the same. KEEP IT VERY SIMPLE.
3. MAKE SURE YOU TALK ABOUT THE ‘LIFE’ OF YOUR PROJECT. If you genuinely believe it will be five years before a server upgrade is needed, then present that fact. But let’s be honest, even three years is a very long time in the world of technology.
4. DON’T JUST TALK TO ONE VENDOR BECAUSE YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH THEM. Presenting alternatives and more than one quote will engage your ‘audience’. Get them thinking about not ‘IF’ but ‘WHEN’ we implement the project. Many companies already require two or three quotes if additional vendors are available.
5. REMEMBER….FAMILIARITY BREEDS CONTEMPT. Sometimes your colleagues in the C-Suite get to a point that they will often believe what an outsider says over an insider. How else do consultants make money? Bring in one or two people from outside the company if you can who are not directly connected to the proposed project.
My final thought is this. If the project gets turned down or the company wants to put it on the bottom of some list…………….just wait. I’ve seen it many times. There will be a hiccup! That’s when you call for a meeting. And using a few of your own Scare Tactics may be what you need to get the green light.