Did you know that executive involvement is essential for new IT initiatives ? Many leaders mistakenly believe that they can distance themselves from overall IT strategy, security and best practices , but this could not be further from the truth.
In order to be able to ensure that any necessary IT initiatives are successful, executive leadership needs to be highly aware and completely on board with every aspect of a proposed and subsequently accepted IT strategy (whether it comes from an in-house IT department or a third-party MSP).
Failure to not have the executive team on board (including all senior-level executives, decision-makers and heads of finance) all but ensures your IT initiative will fail , and as a result, your existing inefficiencies will only grow .
In this blog post, we will discuss the strategic importance of executive buy-in for IT initiatives, and outline recommendations on how to build executive buy-in.
What Is Executive Buy-In?
Executive buy-in is the agreement from executives and leadership to support or invest in a project. Executive buy-in ensures that a project has been reviewed and approved by top decision-makers, lending authority and credibility to the initiative.
But more than that, executive buy-in is the ongoing commitment (manifested by actioned decisions and dollars spent) of the executive team to ensure their new IT strategy is implemented swiftly and decisively without a lot of hemming and hawing between departments and delays until ‘next quarter’ because of a perceived lack of importance.
It’s the belief from every major decision maker that their business requires working IT elements like:
- Updated IT equipment
- Robust managed cyber security measures
- An adhered-to IT strategy
- Structured spending for IT
- A top-down best practices commitment for IT
But now, let’s explore a few instances where not having executive buy-in for overarching IT initiatives and supported strategies can be detrimental to a business and ultimately negate the entire potential benefit of top-notch IT.
Why Gaining Executive Buy-In for IT is Essential in Today’s Technology Landscape
Not having executive buy-in to an IT project brings with it a tremendous risk of:
- Complete Failure of IT Initiatives
- Growing Inefficiencies
- Security Breaches
- Lost or Stolen Data
- Harm to Reputation
- Increased Employee Turnover
- Wasted Financial Resources
- Poor Business Performance
- And more
|Executive Buy-In Fact from Fusion Computing’s Own Experience:
“If even one of the C-levels fails to participate in any of the previously agreed-to IT strategies, (such as implementing Multi-factor Authentication (MFA), employee security awareness training, replacing end-of-life IT hardware or software, declining to spend money on IT initiatives as dictated by best practices, etc.) they can severely hampering their own business’ success .”
For example, without executive buy-in, even an experienced MSP cannot properly protect their client’s system (which goes against their contractual agreement) or ensure equitable ROI, which largely defeats the purpose of their engagement.
Executives need to understand that knowledge is power and the company must invest in proactive IT security techniques.
If they haven’t gained leadership buy-in , organizations will not get the desired value in enhanced business performance, reduction in inefficiencies and protection from evolving cyber threats .
What Are Some Potential Barriers to Achieving Executive Buy-In for IT?
It can be difficult to overcome emotional barriers when it comes to investing heavily in something (in this case IT) they may not fully understand and thereby appreciate. That’s why it is absolutely imperative that all members of the leadership team and every department head is completely committed to adopting best practices and investing in sound IT strategies going forward for the long term .
Many people may be afraid of modern IT elements they haven’t wrapped their head around yet (like the cloud) or are just feeling uncertain about why it is such an issue now. On top of that, if they feel the business has been doing just fine without these changes, then spending extra money on a new IT strategy or updated hardware can seem like pouring money into something that won’t provide any discernible value.
This can result in them not making the necessary investments for essential IT protections like cyber security insurance or taking regulatory actions – even though these measures could actually protect users far better than what they’ve been doing before.
The truth is, regardless of emotion-based reasons to not switch to IT best practices and a strictly-followed IT strategy, a decisive approach will always guarantee the highest level of ROI and drastically enhanced efficiencies.
6 Recommendations for Gaining Executive Buy-In
1. Communication, Communication, and Communication!
IT projects can be vital for ensuring effective business operations, as well as providing a secure environment.
From improved operational efficiency, reduced costs, and better security to containing data breaches , having an IT strategy that everyone is committed to is proven to provide organizations with multiple ways to save money and improve data safety. Understanding the importance of IT implementations and how they’ll affect the bottom line is key for success in any industry, no matter how small or large the business.
Also be sure to present financial projections so that the C-suite team knows what kind of return on investment they’re likely to see.
2. Assign a Champion
Look for someone in the organization who is passionate and knowledgeable about IT best practices and improvements, and then assign them as an advocate to take a lead role in securing executive buy-in.
If you want to encourage the adoption of new IT best practices in your organization, start by connecting with somebody who has the ear to influence others who aren’t on board yet.
When developing an advocate for an improved IT strategy , focus on education and discussion rather than a hard sell . By proactively clearing up misconceptions and debunking myths about modern IT best practices, you greatly improve the odds that it will become a natural part of your organization’ culture.
It’s also important to show how these best practices benefit everyone in the organization, from productivity to preservation of assets. Taking these steps can ensure that you have an ally when it comes to getting everyone on board for improved cyber security protocols and other IT initiatives.
3. Get Extra Professional Insight
Sometimes it can be difficult to motivate a group of people who have limited knowledge in the sphere of IT.
To break through this resistance and get everyone on board, consider consulting with a third-party security specialist who can offer additional insight. This expert can provide an objective perspective and be a trusted source who can help bridge the gap between the technical IT staff and executives.
Additionally, this professional can provide invaluable guidance on how to create a secure, more productive environment that follows best practices in the most cost-effective way.
4. Gain Leadership’s Trust
Gaining both individual and collective executives’ trust is vital to successful implementation of IT security initiatives, so it’s important to build strong relationships and report with leadership in order to gain their approval.
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Showing that all the people in the know take IT seriously and will not relent in championing the proposed changes in best practices can help earn leadership’s trust. Furthermore, showing that the new proposed IT strategy has been thoroughly researched and planned (and can definitively be implemented in a cost-effective manner) will help to ensure buy-in from leadership.
5. Highlight the Dangers of Poor Cyber Security, as an Example
It helps to put cyber security in terms of risk management.
As one of the greatest threats to modern business’ bottom line and reputation, highlighting the potential risks and damages due to poor cyber security can be an effective way to get executive buy-in for better IT security protocols.
Pointing out case studies of other organizations that experienced damaging data breaches or hacks, as well as the subsequent costs involved, will help executives understand the importance of taking a proactive stance on managing cyber security.
This can be a powerful motivator for making sure the organization’s IT infrastructure is secure.
6. Build a Relationship with Your MSP
Having a managed service provider (MSP) as part of your strategy to implement updated IT strategies AND convince your executive team to rapidly adopt it is essential.
When choosing an MSP, look for one that not only understands the technical requirements of IT projects but can also help you build relationships with other stakeholders and executives. A good MSP will be able to navigate through complex organization structures and provide valuable guidance on how to get the right people on board.
They can also provide the necessary support and resources in order to ensure that these best practices are implemented correctly. Working with an experienced MSP will make it easier to get executive buy-in for new IT initiatives.
Getting Help with Executive Buy-In with Fusion Computing
Fusion Computing is a full-service IT consulting firm with extensive experience in both managing technology projects and cyber security.
We can help you develop an effective strategy for gaining executive buy-in for implementing new IT protocols and strategy, as well as providing the necessary resources to ensure an all-around successful implementation.
By working with Fusion Computing, you will have the expertise and guidance needed to build trust with leadership and get everyone on board for improved cyber security protocols. Let us help you make sure that your organization is protected from potential risks posed by poor data protection measures. Join forces with us today and rest easy knowing that your digital assets are safe and secure.
Contact us now to get on the path towards effective change management for your organization’s senior executives and make a solid business case they can’t ignore.
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