Finance and technology are almost different languages, and no matter how many times you repeat the words “future-proof” and “transformative” to the people holding the purse-strings, they may remain unconvinced. But there are good reasons companies should be investing in IT as well as looking out for the savings available in out-sourcing and out-tasking. So how do you speak the language of money and get finance to fund your pet projects?
Bring in other departments
Every department, whether it’s sales, marketing, HR or admin, can be improved with existing and emerging technologies. Speak to department heads and key staff, and devise ways IT can improve these areas of the business. It could happen through developing a new application, moving a paper based process online or automating some functions of the department. If you bring your CFO a list of projects with definite business outcomes and projected savings or revenue enhancements, it’s far more compelling than simply asking for a dollar or percentage figure.
Make time to speak to your CFO or finance department about the data that’s being generated by your e-commerce/supplier/customer interactions, social media reach and other IT-related business areas, and work out how best to extract actionable insights from this data. Forrester research has shown that information and financial analysis is one of the areas that CFOs are most interested in. Make it clear that you can provide a definite business advantage, and map out a plan of action for data analysis over the next year.
Sell your successes, not your savings
If you try to demonstrate the IT department’s value by talking about your percentage savings on department or project budgets, you may be setting yourself up for cuts. Instead, speak about the successes of your projects and department, make their value to the company clear, and describe how an increased budget could enable you to contribute even more to the business.
Your CFO might be technically literate, but you can’t count on it. In any case, it’s not their job to have an in-depth understanding of the “how” of IT. So spare the unnecessary detail. Talk about what it is, what it does, why you need it and what it will do for the company. If your CFO wants to know about how something works, they’ll ask. Otherwise keep the conversation about the business, not the technology.
Stephen Sims is Brennan IT’s General Manager – Sales and Marketing.