How CIOs Can Sell the Business on New Tech

New technology is always threatening business relevance and pushing older technology to become obsolete. Yet getting management to agree to adopt something new can be a “wing and a prayer” situation. In an article for CIO UK, Ade McCormack shares how he believes CIOs can better manage the cycle of obsolescence by becoming strategic demand creators.

Making the Airtight Case

The very nature of IT creates an environment laden with uncertainty. Riding the line of relevance, efficiency, and new technology is difficult. According to McCormack, this inevitability does not mean demise for CIOs; instead, they can turn technology branding into “strategic currency.” There are three “T’s” to this idea:

  1. Toys
  2. Threats
  3. Table stakes

Typically, businesses see new technology like a shiny new toy. They are often hesitant to adopt something they do not see the need for, which is smart. However, eventually others in the industry will adopt this new technology in a practical way, making it a threat. If the threats are too great and the business cannot sustain itself, it will either have to concede to its competitors or acknowledge these stakes and play the game.

Questioning your users can help to uncover how they believe new technologies will or could benefit them. This accompanied with the thoughts from the organization itself will create a much stronger case to present to leadership about adopting new technology. This is “solution selling”: “They start with the customer, firstly exploring what is giving them headaches. They then present their offerings as a pain killer.” In the IT world, this means that the CIO listens to what upper executives want, and then delivers it to them. Alternatively, another strategy is “provocation selling,” where the CIO brings to light a problem that leadership did not realize even existed. The CIO and management can then work backward to devise the right technology solution.

Creating your case to deliver to management goes back to understanding the three T’s. The CIO should seek to create strategically-relevant work. New technology is always going to be around the corner. Embrace it and become a strategic demand creator.

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