by Craig LeGrande, CEO Mainstay
For years, we’ve been hearing how CIOs need to quantify and communicate the business value of IT. The payoff, we are told, can be huge. In fact, a study by Gartner estimates that CIOs who do well at communicating IT’s value to the business will achieve 60% higher funding levels than their market peers. However, according to Gartner, a full 63% of CIOs struggle to communicate IT’s value, and only 7% do it consistently.
What prevents IT organizations from articulating their business value effectively?
Let’s try viewing this question from the perspective of a technology vendor. After all, the vendor has a real stake in solving this problem for the CIO. It’s well known that proving business value is one of the best ways for tech companies to sell more products.
So, how does the vendor do it? Is it just a matter of staffing its sales teams with “value management consultants” tasked with helping the CIO justify an investment? The vendor can also follow up after deploying a solution and create a marketing asset documenting the business value realized. All of this can help, but this approach often yields lackluster results.
A more holistic approach works better. Because when you think about it, the business value that tech companies deliver to their CIO “customer” is really the result of a collaborative effort involving multiple functional teams, including product development, marketing, sales, professional services, partner organizations, customer support, customer success – and of course executive management. To be effective, value management needs to be practiced across all these functions and, even better, embedded in the culture of the entire company.
Just like customer success programs started off as an informal “team” and later evolved into a companywide function, the practice of value management ultimately needs to engage and inspire the entire enterprise. (Down the road, we actually see the lines blurring between customer success and value management, but that’s for another blog.) And though value management processes, tools, and deliverables may vary across the company, taken together they can deliver consistent business outcomes, making both the vendor and the CIO winners.
How Technology Vendors Can Help with Value Management
Where do you begin? Acquiring skills and tools is a good start, but now is a great time for companies to invest in establishing a formal company-wide value management program. Make sure you have the full support of the CEO. Get the mandate to build and establish value management processes, tools, and governance across the company and even with your partners. Build awareness and adoption for the program with internal marketing campaigns and training programs.
Do all these things right and ultimately, you’ll instill a “Value DNA” into your whole organization. This will extend to your CIO clients, who can now justify their technology investments in your products with the CFO, CEO, and the Board. That makes it easier for them to secure funding for the next phase of that transformational project – with your contract renewed. That is true customer success in action.
And that’s the best way to maximize returns from your investment in value management.
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