October 16, 2017

You Can Help Your Customer’s CIO Shine (Again)

The traditional Chief Information Officer role is under threat. You may think this statement is an exaggeration, but consider this: CIOs used to strategically manage and deploy the IT assets of the company, making data accessible only to specified employees and not to others, according to predetermined, and often inflexible, business rules.

Today, digital opportunities like building multi-channel customer experiences, harnessing social data, and enabling super-fast decisions powered by real-time data have become critical. CIOs are finding it harder to exert as much influence as they had in the past.  Other line-of-business heads like sales management, marketing officers, and newly- created roles like digital business and data officers are all taking a hands-on attitude in purchasing tools relevant to them, often helped by developments like cloud, subscription, and bring-your-own-device. The CIO is increasingly finding that she is losing part of her relevance.

What are successful CIOs doing to preserve their influence? Successful CIOs are learning to behave like a CEO. In a fluid world where every business needs to be digital, where retailers act like banks and telcos like content producers, CIOs must not only be responsible for resilient and reliable IT environments but must show the business vision, persuasion skills, panoramic view of the organization, and broader market outlook that characterize CEOs.

Successful CIOs are evaluating technologies as business enablers: it is still important to offer systems that keep the lights on; but the most successful CIOs strive to be a “go to” leader that drives and supports meaningful business change.

How can you help in your role as a sales executive, winning deals in the process? Beyond demonstrating the technical capabilities of your product, you must speak the business language that will keep the CIO’s attention.  One pragmatic way of doing that is by delivering a Business Value Assessment (or BVA) with the help of experienced value analysts.

It is not only that a BVA will make the investment more consumable, demonstrating in hard dollars how benefits measure up compared to technology costs and translating those into relevant financial metrics (something of interest to the financial department). A strong BVA explicitly spells out what category or type of benefit impact the organization from a business point of view, something a CIO looking for business enablers will appreciate. The BVA will typically explain:

  • How revenues can increase, by illustrating, for example, the technology’s impact in a new line of businesses, or the impact of upsell and cross-sell in existing ones
  • How productivity can increase, by evaluating of the technology’s impact on human resources costs in new and existing businesses
  • How line-of-business costs can decrease, by reviewing of the technology’s impact in savings in certain departments and activities, like marketing costs or telecommunication costs
  • How regulatory and compliance costs can decrease, by considering of the technology’s impact on potential costs associated with litigation

Technology Finance Partners has years of experience delivering effective and clear BVAs. You may think of TFP as third-party field-level support who have the specific skills to improve your odds by adding the business and financial dimension to your sales processes. By engaging your business value engineer, you will be making your contribution to enable the CIO to address broader business imperatives. Empower your CIO customer to preserve and extend her influence—think of all the goodwill that may bring to your sales!

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