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Why selling is more important than ever for CIOs

Brian Prentice | July 1, 2016
The democratisation of IT decision-making within enterprises, and the growing influence of vendors, means that CIOs no longer 'win by default'. Instead, they must convince other members of their organisation of their value.

The more IT decision making is democratised, the more important a unique value proposition becomes for the IT department - that is, its ability to offer a comprehensive perspective on the digital future of the entire organisation.

This leads to a requirement that may feel uncomfortable. CIOs need to prepare their department to compete for attention by selling its unique value proposition.

 Employ same sales techniques as vendors

As LOB managers and other individual employees make more IT decisions autonomously, CIOs will have to employ the same sales techniques as technology vendors to ensure the continued relevance of the IT department.

Over 20 years ago, enterprise IT vendors made a substantial change to their customer engagement strategies to remain viable. Their approach to selling shifted primarily from an order fulfilment activity towards structured, consultative sales processes, often under the banner of "solution selling". In pursuing this approach with a view to long-term value selling, there is, however, an important principle for CIOs to observe: their intent should be not to manipulate, but to optimise outcomes for all stakeholders.

 Brian Prentice is a research vice president with Gartner's CIO Advisory team, leading research on digital humanism. He focuses on helping CIOs transform the enterprise IT organisation into a design centre, along with the strategic leadership required to navigate the competitive digital business landscape.

Source: CIO New Zealand


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