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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.

"Let us prove ourselves. If we can't, you are free to hire anyone you want. But at least give us a chance. We will prove that we have the ability," Khan told the committee.

Khan's suggestion was to implement a transportation management system (TMS). The challenge, Khan learnt, was that the company found it hard to tell if it was using every truck—that its third-party logistics partner sent out—optimally.

Of course the initial stumbling block came in the form of doubts of IT's business knowledge. "You guys have no supply chain experience. How can you add value to it?" was the response from the business. Not one to be swayed by such hurdles, Khan took to marketing his project to change their minds.

Khan wanted to implement the TMS module from SAP. Since SAP was already being used by the IT team for over 10 years, all they had to do was add in a new module. So Khan gave presentations to his business committee members about using this module.

Khan points out that during the meeting he spoke purely in business terms. Moreover, he also said that he tailored his presentation style according to who he was talking to.

"When you are talking to the MD or the chairman, you have to keep everything simple, provide the conclusion up front, and take a results-oriented approach," says Khan, adding that for such a scenario a one-slide presentation is adequate.

But, he points out, that when talking to the business head of a concerned team, it's good to make sure that they know that the CIO is aware of all that is relevant to their business. That means CIOs are required to talk more in depth.

Just as Chaturvedi pointed out, Khan also believes in the idea of meeting stakeholders informally. "In an informal setting people will be more receptive to the ideas you are pitching," says Khan.

Khan went ahead and meet concerned officials and was able to sell the idea to them. When the next business committee meeting came up, these officials championed Khan's solution, thereby giving further credibility to Khan's project in the eyes of the committee.

He was also able to get the approval of the chairman, who told him that "if you (Khan) are confident, we will invest in your project. So you can go ahead." Their confidence in Khan was well placed, as after the solution was implemented, Radico Khaitan was able to save around Rs 7.5 crore.

Challenge 3: Projects whose benefits are not obvious
In today's tough economic times, any project that is to be implemented has to be justified by the returns it provides—a hard process in itself. Now consider that not only are you the CIO who is trying to get your suggestion across to another team, but that this project has no immediately tangible benefits.


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