Author: Barb Dossetter, Delivery Director
As I reviewed my seventh IT Strategy this year, I was reminded of one of the talents that doesn't fall naturally to IT people, that of 'selling a solution' to the business. Like a great meat pie, it contains lots of good and worthy content. The issues are understood, the solutions are solid and they are immensely 'doable'. But…and there is a but, depending on the audience, this great strategy may not have the impact that the CIO wants it to have. To quote Paul Newman 'What we have here is a failure to communicate.' So, just a few pointers (with a sly grin and bright blue eyes) to help colleagues and peers be more successful in this area:
- Start where your audience is. If your audience is a 'c' level business person, understand what his or her issues are, how they are measured and what will excite them in your direction. Know your audience.
- Business strategy precedes IT Strategy. Always list the business objectives and issues to be met and show how IT will be meeting them with the things that you have planned. Tie it back to the business.
- For each element of the plan, show how it affects the business. It's a great discipline to make sure that we are delivering what the business needs, rather than what we think they want. What's the benefit to the business? Feature/Benefit.
- At the end of your presentation, state clearly what you want the audience to do as a result of the information you have shared. Don't leave it to them to draw the conclusion, they are really busy and usually don't want to take on any extra load. Call to action.
These are steps that a great salesperson takes, and no matter how logical and blindingly obvious your solution is, selling is required to get it the commitment and engagement required to see it through successfully.
For those coming to the Annual Conference on the 4/5th October, you may want to consider the related sessions on Communication, Contract Negotiation and CFO/CIO.
Good luck with the Beef Wellington!