Do you have an IT project that needs to be on the fast track? The first step in developing your plan for internal approval is to consider your audience. Whether it’s your CFO or CTO who needs to approve your project, we recommend formatting your pitch so you are speaking their language. Not only are these decision makers concerned about the company’s financial outlook, they also want to know how your project will support your company’s overall vision and strategic goals.
Gather the Information They Want to Hear
While this particular project may seem cutting-edge to you and your team, executives can sometimes shy away from words like “advanced,” “forward-thinking” and “innovation.” Additionally, they may not resonate with jargon that is too technical in nature. Unless you can explain exactly how this project will generate additional revenue or decrease expenses, it’s best not to attempt getting buy-in based on general excitement nor the overly technical aspects of the project.
You should include specific examples that reflect the project’s ROI:
- Increase customer purchase activity (whether it is existing customers purchasing a new product line or new customers purchasing existing products)
- Decrease customer attrition rates
- Engage and educate new customers, which will decrease your organization’s service expenses (time and resources)
- Decrease in costs in impacted areas, including personnel, OPEX, or even data center space
In addition, to these examples, include approximate values for each increase and/or decrease you believe will occur, and how you arrived at those estimates.
Provide a Summary of All your Findings
If you plan to work with a vendor, you don’t need to share every quote (or proposal) you received with your executive. Just make sure to analyze them, and be prepared to answer questions about how the quote you are presenting stacks up against others. Your executive team will want to know what makes this particular proposal most valuable to your organization as well as the total cost of ownership.
If the vendor you are advocating costs more than the competition, you will need to provide details about how the additional costs are a reflection of specific value this particular vendor will supply. Although it may be imprecise, guesstimate how much the added value is worth to your organization to rationalize the higher cost.
Explain How You Will Track Results
It’s not enough these days to simply say you will track results. You need to have a detailed plan for how you will track your project’s progress and report your findings. Does your project’s proposal include the additional resources needed to set up any measurement tools? If you plan to use a current system, does any time or budget need to be spent to alter it?
Provide a list of measurements you will track and how often you will report your findings. We also recommend showing your executive team a sample report or dashboard with measurable findings. Being proactive and sharing the measurements you plan to provide will alleviate miscommunications and unexpected work load later.
Be Upfront About the Financial Risks
No one wants to admit from the beginning that their project could fail, but the truth is, projects fail for a number of reasons. It’s better to examine your company’s risk ahead of time and understand what is at stake before it happens. Your executives will want to know:
- The specific steps you will take to mitigate potential risks
- Your backup plan should the project fail
- How much an unexpected failure would cost the organization
Utilize Manufacturer Tools
In addition to your own calculations for total cost of ownership for a new project, you can verify your findings or contribute to your data collection with tools provided by key manufacturers.
One example is the Hitachi Unified Storage Quick Estimator Tool, which can help you estimate the total cost of ownership of your current storage environment and compare with an Hitachi Unified Storage 100 system.
How to Use this Information
Cold Creek Solutions will help you research, plan and execute your next IT initiative. Our expertise will give you the support needed to get your CFO, CTO, or other executive team members on board with your next project. Please call Cold Creek Solutions at 303-317-4131 to increase your speed to market with our IT expertise.