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Securing Budget for IT Projects

In most organizations, IT is still regarded as a cost center. However, we are seeing a shift from a “keeping the lights on” mentality to one of IT being a “ business enabler,” which has been fueled by the advent of cloud technologies.

The Future of IT: Joint Effort Projects
Based on trends, the future of IT will likely encompass a more collaborative model with IT as a business enabler working with other business units to understand the real needs and pain points of the business on joint effort projects. Securing budget is naturally easier with join effort projects as there is typically a clear ROI tied to them and identifiable and measurable goals. The more a project helps other business units, the better. This model opens up the opportunity for shared funding as well, which is typically a win-win.

As an example, if IT is joining forces with sales to build a new sales tracking tool that incorporates automation, workflow and timely analytics, there is a measurable ROI and an inherent mutual effort and reward.

The Pitch
We have written about technical presentations on our IT blog. In a nutshell, whether pitching an IT project or a joint-effort project, the pitch should summarize the following on a single page:

  • A clear and concise description of what the project is and why it’s important.
  • The business case – What problem are you trying to solve, for who and why?
  • Any resource dependencies tied to the project.
  • The business impact, both the reward and risk as well as the impact to business users.
  • The strategic impact – How does the project align to the strategic roadmap, if you have one? What are the risks/rewards to customers? What is the financial benefit over a period of time?
  • The technical impact – How familiar with the technology is IT as well as current business users? How complex is the solution?
  • The anticipated costs and return.
  • The estimated duration of the project.

Storytelling & Passion
Both storytelling and passion are important in crafting your “ask.” Whether pitching internally or externally, not everyone will understand IT. Being able to tell a story about how the project aligns with business goals and can support them is critical. Not everyone shows passion when pitching, but I personally think it’s important and helps convey the right kind of emotion to help everyone understand what the project is all about. However, it’s a delicate dance – passion must be linked to the reality of what the business is doing and the direction it’s headed.

Getting the Green Light
Typically, you’d start at the C-suite to find the individual(s) with the power to green light your project, but it depends on the culture and size of the company, so knowing your organization’s hierarchy and its power players helps. A couple decision-making models that work well in a more collaborative model are:

  • A team of people within the organization that represent the best interests of the company and have the power to green light projects.
  • A team as described above, but with rotating individuals on it to ensure that there is always a fresh perspective.

Outside Perspective
Outside resources, such as consultants, can help to create a repeatable framework for project opportunity assessments and to help evaluate the complexity, magnitude and ideas of measuring ROI. Outside resources can also help manage the project as a neutral party and provide insights into execution and track data for ROI purposes as well.

Resources
You can access the Fuller Solutions Project Opportunity Assessment template to create a concise, clear project description. We use this as a tool to help tell a great story about the project that can be easily consumed by everyone that you are telling it to and targeting to get on board with the project.

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