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Three buy-in challenges all CIOs face

Eric Ernest | June 28, 2013
Look at some of the buy-in challenges that most CIOs don't like talking about—and how to beat them.

"If half a month is lost in getting a tractor to the dealer, a customer may switch preference," says Arora, outlining why it was important to streamline the process. In addition, because tractors had to be moved across state lines, they attracted sales tax.

Arora suggested putting up a system that could manage depots at different locations across the country. In his vision, the set up would only require renting a fenced property to store tractors and minimal manpower to handle day-to-day operations, such as securing tractors and updating inventory. The only IT infrastructure required at the depots were a desktop with an Internet connection and a printer.

But this represented a massive shift for the company's workforce who were used to being physically present at a location to carry out their work. Moreover, the company's executives were still not convinced of the expected results of this project. They held the notion that this project would somehow require more infrastructure than Arora believed—and all the associated overheads.

They turned down Arora's proposal.

One of the management's main grudges, as Arora puts it, was "how could IT possibly suggest a business solution?" And associated teams, such as the finance and marketing teams, just couldn't quite get around the fact that their members could work remotely.

"Your idea looks good on presentation and what you have spoken about is nice. But it's wishful thinking," was what, as Arora says, one of the company's president's said on hearing his proposal. The president then cited a similar implementation the company had carried out in Europe—one which had failed.

Arora wasn't surprised by the reluctance he met, and he tackled it head on, adopting a two-pronged approach. First, he presented his case to management through the lens of the project's low cost. He told them that he would only need to spend on setting up meager IT infrastructure. "So even if you provide me with a maximum of Rs 1 lakh, I'm ok with that," Arora remembers telling his management.

It's a figure, Arora says, that's "peanuts" from management's viewpoint.

Second, Arora understood that if he was just able to get the proverbial foot in the door he would be able to convince management of the project's viability. All he needed was to get the ball rolling and he knew the project would come to life. For this, he had to show them that his ideas worked, even on an experimental basis. In fact he had such a firm belief that his approach would work and bring the company a number of benefits that he even suggested, only half jokingly, that he would leave the company if his experiment failed.


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