If you had to make a list of some of the major reasons why an information management project might fail — particularly those that are a part of full scale digital transformations — a lack of executive buy-in would undoubtedly be right at the top.
Getting the blessing of your company leadership is about more than just securing the funds needed to execute the project in the first place. True digital transformation requires a culture willing to embrace what is about to happen. It requires people to be able to see the very real benefits they’ll get at the end of these efforts. It relies on everyone being on the same page and moving in the same direction at all times, all while mitigating the common risks as much as possible along the way. This isn’t just difficult to achieve without total buy-in from executives and other key stakeholders.
It’s largely impossible.
But thankfully, all hope is not lost. Getting your executives’ blessing for your information management project is actually a lot more straightforward than you might think it to be. You just have to keep a few key things in mind along the way.
Understand the Scope of the Situation
Obviously, you understand why this particular information management project is the right move for your business to make at this specific moment. If you’re dealing with a lack of buy-in from executives, the key to overcoming this is to first make an effort to understand why that may be the case.
More often than not, it comes down to an issue of communication: one where you’ve thus far been unable to explain the true value of what you’re proposing. Other times, company leaders are simply not in a position to clearly see the end result quite yet. They know what you want to do but are less sold on the “why” of it all.
Regardless, these are things that you can absolutely control with the right approach. However, it may require an adjustment from the way you’ve been doing things up to this point.
Frame the Information Management Project Properly and Establish a Vision that Justifies Its Own Existence
You need to make sure that you’re framing the project in a way that makes financial sense as quickly as possible. Any type of information management project is capital investment — to say nothing of how much work people are going to have to put in. Rather than letting your executive team get hung up on the costs, emphasize the value that they’re getting in return.
Yes, the project might cost $X to complete. But if you save $Y per month and are projected to see a return on investment in a year and a half, suddenly you’ll have a much easier time making your argument.
Regardless, you need to make sure that you’re establishing a vision for the project that justifies the change. The destination has to be worth the journey it takes to get there, so to speak. No matter what type of project you’re talking about, boil everything down to the two core essentials:
- Here is what we need to do, and
- Here is what we’re going to get in return.
So long as “what we’re going to get in return” is more beneficial and valuable than the effort required for the project itself, you absolutely have the makings of a transformation that justifies its own existence. At that point, executive buy-in is as simple as communicating those points as clearly and as succinctly as possible.
Figure Out What Moves Your Management Team
One of the most important ways to get your executives’ blessing for your information management project involves figuring out what moves your particular executive team and funneling everything through that particular tunnel.
Maybe cost-cutting is an important topic that your leadership is focused on. In that case, you would want to go into more detail about how legacy information management solutions (and all of the frustrating data silos that they create) are enormously expensive. If critical data is trapped in a single solution, it isn’t being moved freely across an enterprise. The people who need access to that insight don’t have it and they’re usually missing opportunities and making poor decisions as a result of it.
Not only would you be able to save on labor by replacing that legacy system with something new, but the new system itself would be cheaper by default. Suddenly, you’ve made a far more compelling argument in favor of your project that speaks directly to the heart of what your management team is focused on.
If revenue generation is the topic of the day, you could point out how your new information management project would allow you to eliminate manual tasks through automation so that employees can focus all of their attention on the most important matter of all: their clients. By creating an environment where technology can execute all of those manual tasks (while also eliminating human error), everyone will be able to provide a better customer experience with a seamless flow of information between departments and to your customers.
It doesn’t actually matter what your executives’ number one priority happens to be. The two above examples could easily be talking about the same project; they’re just taking two totally different approaches to the discussion. So long as you figure out what is most important to your executives and steer the conversation in that direction, you’ll have a far easier time getting everyone on board.
If you’d like to find out more information about how to get executives’ blessings for your information management project, or if you have any additional questions that you’d like to discuss in a bit more detail, we are available to be a resource and discuss your needs at any time