- Selling the value of IT investments to senior leadership relies on speaking in business terms, such as risk and operational efficiency, said Derek Brink, VP and research fellow at Aberdeen Strategy and Research, while speaking at SpiceWorld 2021 on Wednesday.
- Once the risk to the business is explained, technology leadership can demonstrate how making investments in IT will buy down that risk, according to Brink. Operational efficiency is just "a fancy way to say" that business tasks can be done faster and cheaper with technology investments.
- "Senior business leaders expect us to be the subject matter experts, but they also need us to make the case to justify the investments," Brink said. "We need to also communicate the business value. And to do that, we're also acting as trusted advisors to the business."
Budget season is approaching, and IT executives will have to keep speaking the language of business leaders to win over the funding they need.
Just four in 10 IT decision makers trust their business partners to make informed decisions about technology buying even though 58% of business decision makers say they're sufficiently informed to purchase tech, a Spiceworks Ziff Davis report found in June.
Cybersecurity can be an easily translatable way to sell senior business leadership on IT investments as it becomes an increasingly mainstream topic following high profile attacks — if it's done effectively.
Security is already a planned expense for many CIOs; the majority of CIOs expect to increase investments in network security and enabling cloud security, according to a Cisco report released in March.
"Talking about all the details of what the bad guys do ... that's important for us to know, but that's not what the business people need to know," Brink said. Instead, translate the details into risk by discussing the likelihood of an exploit and what the corresponding business impact would be if an attack occurred.