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When IT Buys Your Technology for You

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Susie West
CEO, sharedserviceslink

If your CEO heard a rumor that technology purchased by your company wasn’t being used, they’d be pretty alarmed. Speaking at HighRadius Radiance conference today (February 5th 2020), one audience member presented me with a problem she’s facing:

They (the shared services organization) are ham-strung. They don’t get to buy any enabling technology needed to solve their process problems and assist with their automation goals. Instead, all technology is bought by IT. The problem? IT doesn’t get the process, so they don’t really understand what the solution should look like in terms of functionality. And then the problem on top of this? The business users don’t adopt the technology, as it’s not the right fit. The result? Paid-for – and sometimes expensive – technology sits on the shelf. The outcome is waste and frustration. IT might be happy because they got to own a decision, but other than that, there’s business misery.

So what can you do? It’s not simple, but it’s not impossible. Your goal here is to win over the buying power. IT is a service. They should be part of your decision committee, but the decision should be with you, the business/SSO (unless you work for a co where IT really understands process). Think about doing this:

  1. Start by listing all the enabling technologies purchased for you by IT over the past 5 years 
  2. Based on known information, what was the spend over the 5 years?
  3. Get access to the business cases (as a user you should have access to these). How many business cases have actually met their ROI? Collect the data
  4. Then look at your own business process – gather information on why technologies haven’t been used, collect anonymous testimonials
  5. Estimate the opportunity lost over the 5-year period because the right technology wasn’t purchased and used
  6. Document all this in a simple-to-consume PowerPoint, and go to IT if you think they will listen, or go straight to a senior sponsor and lobby them. There is a risk that IT will not like the sound of this effort, but what’s the alternative? Another 5 years of technological waste and user frustration?

You may have a fight on your hands, but with the right information put in front of the right person, your chances of a win are high. Though be prepared to make yourself unpopular. 

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