5 Tips and Tricks for Speaking With CXOs
IT Asset Management does not typically exist as a recognized core business practice. IT Asset Managers must do all of the legwork and that includes convincing executives to see the value of ITAM. Learning to negotiate buy-in for funding and resources is part of implementing best practices. Therefore, before IT Asset Managers may start implementing and growing the ITAM Program, there must be communication and approval from the executives of the organization. The following are five of IAITAM’s best tips and tricks for communicating with CXOs:
1. REVIEW THE ORGANIZATION’S MISSION AND GOALS
Review the goals and mission statement of the organization. Accommodate the goals of the organization within all aspects of the ITAM plan. Reference them in the upcoming conversations / presentations to stakeholders and decision makers. The primary goal of ITAM is to manage IT assets in a way that facilitates the needs and goals of the organization, allowing the business to make better and more agile decisions. An ITAM leader looking for buy-in at that organization might start a conversation with a CXO with a statement of fact such as, “Without proper management of our IT assets and a mature ITAM program, best practice business and financial decisions will be delayed and impacted.” Examples as back up for the statement will need to be available if requested. This is where the metrics for an ITAM Program are invaluable and help denote areas of risk mitigation and cost savings.
2. UTILIZE HARD NUMBERS TO EXPLAIN WHY THE ASSET MANANGEMENT PROGRAM SHOULD BE MORE MATURE
Have metrics in your pocket. For example, do a preliminary self-audit. Know how many pieces of hardware are in the organization. Estimate the number of rogue assets. Calculate how much money an external audit would cost and what would be the consequences for the organization regarding fines, fees, and disruption to the environment. Compile a list of arguments that illustrate the problems that must be addressed and solved by IT Asset Management.
3. ASK AROUND
Someone else in the organization has recently had a project proposal approved. Locate those people and ask the following questions:
- When did you communicate – Travelling in the elevator? At a general organization meeting? At a one-on-one appointment set up beforehand?
- How did you communicate – Via email? Phone call? Face-to-face? Did you have to make a formal PowerPoint presentation to a group or just have a simple conversation with one individual?
- What made the CXOs buy-in – Specifically, what do they value? Control over the environment? Soft dollar savings? Hard dollars? Security?
4. MAKE THE PROPOSAL STAND OUT AMONG ALL OF THE COMPETING PROJECTS
Talk about what is truly unique about ITAM, specifically customized for the organization. Have an argument for why it should be prioritized over other initiatives currently being considered for approval by the CXO. Ask yourself why it is more important than anything else, and then communicate that reason.
5. POLISH PUBLIC SPEAKING SKILLS
All of the preparation in the world is useless unless the importance of ITAM is communicated effectively. Practice the pitch. Shorten the message until all that is left are the important pieces of information. That is what constitutes an Executive Briefing. Also, know your audience and tailor the message to suit their preferences. If the CXO has a disposition towards quick and efficient communication, deliver your message similarly. Likewise, if the CXO is more jovial and enjoys small talk, be prepared to participate in that as well. It’s also important that you maintain a professional presence by dressing accordingly and not reading from a script.
Finally, confidence is key. A CXO is far more likely to buy-in to IT Asset Management initiatives if he or she learns about the facts and numbers from someone who displays confidence and capability.
With confidence, and the tips and tricks listed above, instituting an ITAM program within the organization has a much higher likelihood for success. IAITAM wishes you good luck!