No large-scale corporate initiative will be successful without executive buy-in. This holds true whether we’re talking about marketing, sales, accounting, or otherwise.
It can seem particularly difficult to get this kind of buy-in, however, when the initiative you’re promoting is technical in nature. Let’s face it: no matter how far technology advances, most businessfolk are not keeping pace. So when it comes time to explain to your CEO why you should, for example, uproot your entire network and spend the next 8 weeks transitioning to a Hosted Desktop environment…you’re in for a pretty complicated conversation.
Fortunately for you, this is precisely the conversation that an outsourced IT firm like ours has had over and over and over again; we couldn’t very well have stayed in business for 24 years without knowing how to communicate the value of IT projects to corporate decision-makers.
Below we’ll work through the most important elements to keep in mind as you present your IT projects to your leadership. While they won’t guarantee success, they’ll help shape your perspective so that you are more likely to come away with an approval.
How to get executive buy-in for IT projects
Pay mind to the following elements when you present your IT projects for approval:
- Focus on solving a problem. What problem is this project going to solve for your organization? Will it provide a reliable remote access solution for your staff, which will allow your business to remain open during severe weather rather than shutting down? Will it remove much of your infrastructure burden, which will free up needed capital and allow your IT team to focus on more strategic growth objectives? Will it bolster network vulnerabilities that have left the door open to a security breach?
- Have necessary funds specified, if not already allocated. What is this going to cost? Have you budgeted for it? Will the project offer any savings in the short or long term? Will it increase productivity to the point where you’ll see drastic changes in revenue?
- Know your audience. What are the stakes for the person you’re speaking with? What are their priorities, and how does the project play into them? What questions are they going to ask you? Are you going to be able to answer those questions before they’re asked?
- Don’t take it personally. It has to be said. If your project is rejected, don’t let your mind get clouded by emotion—find out why it was rejected, make the appropriate changes, and bring it back to the table for approval.
By far one of the most effective tools you could leverage here is a comprehensive strategic roadmap for your organization’s IT. This is a plan that takes stock of your current IT situation, dissects your company’s trajectory over the next few years, and very plainly outlines future technology initiatives that will best elevate your systems to the point where they are actively supporting your business mission.
In other words, it will do much of the “pitching” for you.
These sorts of roadmaps come at a price, of course—you’re generally looking at an investment of at least $10,000 (more likely $15-$20,000) for a high-quality deliverable. And no, they aren’t a required element when it comes to getting buy-in.
But however extensively you can plan for these kinds of discussions, we encourage you to do so. If used correctly, your IT systems can offer your organization a significant competitive advantage.
Best of luck!