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How a CIO increased his project budget by 50 percent

Debarati Roy and Gunjan Trivedi | Nov. 30, 2012
Anil Khopkar, Vice President (MIS), Bajaj Auto, convinced his management to clear not one but two budgets in a single year.

Know What You Want

On his side, he had a list of benefits. The move to a virtualized environment demonstrated quite a few straightforward benefits. First, it eases server provisioning and improves server capacity utilization. Second, it would help reduce the datacenter's footprint in terms of operational costs, power consumption, and physical space. Finally, it would enable Khopkar to save about 30 to 40 percent in opex costs every year in AMCs.

But Khopkar says that coming up with that seemingly win-win plan was just five percent of the battle. The other 95 percent was convincing management to adopt virtualization and advance the Rs 40 lakh.

He worked on getting his management to understand the value exchange he was proposing: The cost of buying the two new servers was equal to what the company was paying for three year's worth of AMCs for the old hardware. Still, it meant a one-time large payment versus smaller payouts over three years. But, Khopkar argued, if the company paid that money today, he could save them the cost of paying for the AMCs of 17 servers over three years; the price of replacing 17 servers and; the AMCs on the two new servers (he had bargained for a three-year service guarantee with IBM). Moreover, he wouldn't need further hardware investments to support the new service parts planning and employee self-help portal and other future upgrades.

Khopkar also maintains that a sound understanding of just a few salient features of the project helped them sail through the approval processes. He points out that instead of researching and preparing for a hundred different factors, CIOs should be prepared to present the 25 points that they are absolutely sure of.

Post his team's rigorous research, Khopkar prepared for his meeting with the CEO and CFO with a plethora of facts that he could back unflinchingly. Khopkar also emphasizes on maintaining the right body language. "You being in control of the situation should reflect from your expressions because any shakiness could give the management a whole lot of wrong impressions," he says.

Credibility Counts

Khopkar says that his belief in creating a comprehensive IT roadmap with a three-year timeline paid off. He says that it is easier to convince the business when they see that you have a strategic approach that takes cognizance of future developments and addresses issues as they crop up.

"The ability to foresee possible problems is always appreciated. I briefed the management not just about the cost they would have to incur on the upgrade and hardware refresh, but I also mapped out the kind of expected figure they might have to invest in the coming 18-24 months. Once the CFO and CEO have the visibility that IT is going to need a certain amount of capital over the next 18 months and its revenue outlay is in alignment with business goals, they feel like in control," he says.

 

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