Do you know what technology glaze is?
Technology glaze is that glazed look in the eyes users have after listening to an IT consultant or expert for a few minutes. How quickly do your non-technical audiences get that glazed look? Thirty seconds? Five minutes? Maybe it takes as long as 15 minutes. The deeper I get into technology the more quickly I find that my non-technical audience’s eye’s glaze over. This technical understanding technologists have is a form of political power we bring into the work place. Some see this political power as a form of “Job Security” and try to maintain the mystique. On the other hand being a poor non-technical communicator means we lose as well. The reason my clients hire me over and over again is that I can present technology in a way that is easier to understand than my competition. If you want to get ahead in your job speaking the language of business and technology will help.
Sometimes it’s a struggle understanding how to explain a technical project to a non-technical manager. It’s so easy to get lost describing the technology. The more we talk about the technology though the more our non-technical audience’s eyes glaze over. If you really want to be successful explaining your technology, look up the mission statement of the company. Yes I said the mission statement. Throw out the technical explanations and start with the mission statement. Then look at the company vision statement. If the project is in line with these two documents, it will be 10 times easier to sell the project.
The mission and vision statements were written by the top management of the company. The management team is practically telling you how to sell a project to them. Whether writing for C-level managers or midlevel managers, using these business documents to rationalize a project gives these managers a reason to sign off on the project.
Every business manager is going to first look at your proposal and ask, “How will this make me money or save me money?” If the manager can’t answer this question the proposal will be ignored. There are two business building blocks that every C-level manager understands: Profit and Organizational productivity. If your proposal increases organizational productivity it will increase profit. No C-level manager every got fired for improving the profitability of the organization.
So here’s one way technology can be sold.
- Profitability is directly dependent on Organizational productivity
- Organizational productivity is directly dependent on the organizational knowledgebase
- The organizational knowledgebase is dependent on the software where that knowledgebase is stored
- The software is dependent on the Hardware the software is loaded
- Arguement 1: Therefore Profitability is directly dependent on your Hardware proposal because…
- Argument 2: Therefore Profitability is directly dependent on your Software proposal because…
By explaining first your premise and argument in your proposal, whether the solution is hardware or software dependent, a business argument can be made for your proposal. Include how the solution supports the core mission and vision of the business organization it will be hard for any manager to turn down your proposal.
When I come into a new client site, most IT departments tell me I can’t get the money for the projects. What I find though is that management is begging for projects, but they won’t invest resources into a project that does not demonstrate how the solution will support the management team’s mission and vision for the organization. How do you get your projects through?