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How CIOs Can Achieve Buy-In for Digital Transformation

Jun 09, 2022 BY DATAPRISE

How CIOs Can Achieve Buy-In for Digital Transformation

When a decision-maker approaches technology decisions from a business background, they’re not always swayed by the right factors. They end up obsessing over the marketing's promises of ROI rather than the security, or marveling over flashy features rather than the more practical aspects of a product.

CIOs essentially fight a never-ending battle when it comes to getting leadership to spend money where they need to spend it. As digital transformation sweeps the nation, it's led to a lot of arguments and delays about how and where to spend. We look at how to persuade people to believe in digital transformation, so a business can have enough resources to handle anything from a vicious hack to an unexpected demand surge.

Don’t Abandon the Brand

A CIO who storms into a boardroom with an inspirational speech about how the world is changing is unlikely to be met with anything but annoyance. The very term ‘digital transformation’ sounds like you want to leave all the old ways behind. This is why it’s so important to root whatever request you’re making in the legacy of the company. If you can’t show the leadership that you understand the core audience and values of the brand, they can easily dismiss good ideas without a second thought.

Consider Who You’re Talking to

As much as the brand matters, it’s also important to consider the people who make the decisions. You’ll find that there’s a range of opinions when it comes to technology, with some wanting to go in one direction and others refusing to go anywhere at all.

Leaders have a lot on their minds, and technology may feel more like a hindrance than anything else — particularly if they’re always calling the Help Desk to resolve relatively simple issues. If a CIO isn’t able to speak to at least a few of the major concerns, then leading everyone to shared ground will be an uphill climb.

The good news is that most leaders are motivated by the promise of making better decisions for their company. If you can show them how digital transformation is possible (without hurting the brand), they might start to see their role in the matter as a spearhead of innovation.

 

Bring Everyone Up to Speed

Leaders might not remember very much about the good things that a CIO managed to accomplish. Instead, what they might remember is that new messaging platform that no one could figure out. They might remember how many customer complaints they received when the company switched over to a new server. They might think that the fact that they’ve never been hacked is little more than luck rather than careful planning.

As a CIO, it helps to acknowledge and explain some of these matters, as opposed to assuming that each of the leaders has a solid idea of what steps have been taken in the past, why mistakes were made, and which successes were enjoyed. IT teams often operate in shadow, so a quick overview can go a long way in convincing leaders to make a change.

 

Talk Data

Case studies, ROI, audience metrics: a CIO’s case can be strengthened with more information. There is no predicting exactly what you’ll reap in exchange for an IT transformation, but you can lean on the results of similar projects to forecast.

This tip is often one of the most difficult for CIOs because you’ll need to pare down the information. The most compelling data isn’t always easy to find in a stack of never-ending documents, but it’s usually there if you know what to look for. As you sculpt your case, consider how to reassure leaders that they're doing the right thing. For instance, you might push agile principles as a way to measure the upcoming progress, precisely because they rely on returns to determine exactly what the next steps for an organization should be.

 

Digital Transformation Strategy = Business Strategy

If you're asking yourself why digital disruption is important to a CEO or COO, you may have to accept the answer that it’s not important to them. It’s the CIO’s job to think of the long-term ramifications of each decision, which means coming up with solutions that speak to leaders and prepare them for the real-world implications of whatever path they choose to go down.

These tips are here to help you leverage your diplomatic approach, so you can actually get them to sign off on the products and programs that work. If you want to free up some time and energy to focus more on this kind of critical strategy, consider how a Managed Service Provider (MSP) like Dataprise can alleviate much of your workload by taking care of cybersecurity, infrastructure, and general support. Removing these headaches from your day-to-day can make a huge difference in your productivity.

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