Those that manage technology understand that modern network architecture is not static. The technician focuses on the day to day tactics for management of the organizations technology. Yet we all know that today’s technology will be changing every few years. Scaling the technical infrastructure is out of the scope of worry for most technology experts. The modern network architect does not have this luxury. Modern network architecture is constantly changing. To maintain the corporate vision the technology architect needs to work with the C-level executives who are focused on the vision of the business a year from now, 5years from now, 10 years from now and beyond.
For my Seattle IT consulting clients I like to break it down to every time the business doubles rather than in time periods. Business doubling is my term and I don’t know that you’ll find it in any business journal. If you think about it though, time doesn’t slow the growth of the business. Limited capacity is what kills business growth.
Any department could be the bottleneck for the organization. I find that technology tends to be the major bottleneck for most organizations. We (I mean technologists) all know it. Yet I talk to technologist after technologist who struggles with technology that needs to be upgraded or replaced. If a server can handle 50 users and is running 100 users the server becomes bogged down. We can imagine what will happen when the management team starts running 200 users on that same system. Bring up the problem with management and it’s always about the money.
I walk into organizations where the technician has been warning the owner about the problems for years. I’ll be warned by the technician that I won’t be able to get any money for the obvious problem we both see. This is one of the values I bring to IT departments because often, just a few weeks later, we have the money and we are beginning the new project. How is this done?
Well a friend of mine was telling me a story about one of her clients. Biz Loan Link, owned by Michelle Goerdel, is a company that specializes in helping businesses find investment money. The story on her website just illustrates that whether your client is a non-profit or a business in the middle of bad economic times, there is money if you know how and/or where to ask for it. You have to think like a business owner. Instead of thinking tactically like most technicians, think about the long term goals of the business. Look at the vision of the company. This about the business transition strategy of the organization.
One of my collaboration partners, Peter Busacca, talks about business transition with his clients. Peter works with clients so that they can get the get the best price for their business. This is a process that can go on for decades. Long before the owner is considering selling the business the owner knows that there will be change. Business transition is about planning that change. Often this planning assumes the sale of the business at some point in the future. Business transition could also be about passing the business on to an heir. If you think about the end goal, there are steps and stages the business must pass to get there.
As a technologist we are one of those steps towards the businesses final transition. When asking for a project we need to clarify why and how the investment in of resources will effect of the business in moving towards that final transition.
- Start with the business vision and look for the ways your project supports that vision.
- Reference that vision into the project proposal you are making.
The owner will then be motivated to fund your project. This is not a skill we are taught in school. I learned this, from a mentor, 20 years ago when trying to get a project accepted by a non-profit I was working for. The project was accepted when I aligned the project with the vision of the non-profit rather than my own technical intuition. Suddenly there was plenty of money for my project.
I’m curious how other technicians and IT Consulting professionals have gotten money for technology projects and avoided this problem of “… there’s not enough money for this project.”