– We are technical, , , they are not.
– We speak in technical terms, , , they do not.
– We understand the technology, , , they do not.
– They discuss things in financial terms, , , we do not.
– They understand their business, , , we do not.
It’s material for a big gap to develop and prevent us from getting on the same page with our client.
One of the things we can do is learn to discuss things in financial terms. Are you aware, it’s possible for you to put a cost on virtually anything? Well you can, , , and you need to. Here’s why.
Business managers speak in financial terms, , , especially senior managers like your CEO and CFO. They mentally convert most things they hear into either business value, business cost, or business risk. All three of these have financial implications.
Let’s look at typical examples:
- Cost of downtime – Downtime is certainly a risk and a cost to your company. Are you aware you can literally identify the cost impact of a printer going down, a router failing, or a server crashing? Need to upgrade your infrastructure? Conveying your strategy in “cost of downtime” can be a big help when you discuss this with your senior manager. CLICK HERE to learn how easy this is and use a tool I developed for this purpose.
- Cost of losing a client – Here, I’m talking about your company losing a paying client, , , someone who buys your company’s products or services. Any good marketing or sales manager can tell you what losing a client is worth, , , in financial terms. If you have an IT initiative targeted to help your internal marketing or sales client improve client satisfaction, , , they should be able to help you identify what your work value will be in helping “keep clients”. It’s always cheaper to keep a client than to lose one and have to replace him.
- Business opportunities – Projects that help the company sell more widgets or services, , , or add clients have a definite financial value. Your marketing and sales teams always forecasts future sales, , , seek their help in identifying worthwhile projects that help them succeed and in outlining the opportunity value your IT project work adds to the mix.
- Cost avoidance – Doing a project now can avoid costs down the road. Don’t forget to include this aspect when looking at the financial value of your project.
- Productivity savings – Improving productivity of the company’s workforce can be a big financial value. Improved productivity lets a department do more work without hiring more staff or the ability to reduce staff to do the same amount of work. The department managers and their bosses can help you determine the financial value of improving productivity. For example, in one company every time we developed a data interface from a hospital system into our systems we knew it would be the equivalent of one full-time equivalent (FTE). As a result, our operations people wanted as many interfaces programmed as possible because it eliminated clerical workers having to key in data and handle paper, , , big help in improving their financial position. Identifying the financial value in this case is simply the cost of a clerical worker in salary and benefits.
Talk in financial terms and business managers hear you, , , speak in technical terms and use all the acronyms we like to throw around in the IT world and they not only do not hear you, , , they don’t want to meet with you because they simply can’t understand what you are saying.