27. September 2017
As the front end of the technology buying decision continues to shift from IT to the business units, you might think it means that IT should just “do your bidding” and get the darn thing (whatever it is) implemented already. Rarely does it happen that way. In most corporations, IT still plays a key role in helping vet and roll out new technologies, and having them be a friend and not a foe, makes getting the technologies you want for your marketing, sales and channel technology stack exponentially easier.
Fortunately, the secret to getting IT on board is not particular tricky, it simply requires you to suspend what you care about for a bit, and focus on what they are accountable for first and foremost – making sure your network is safe, fast and available. Time and time again in interactions with prospects in our sales funnel, we come across marketing, sales and channel professionals who failed to put themselves into the shoes of their IT colleagues, and ultimately, they fail to get support for their purchase.
So, step back, and make sure that you’re ready to address the 12 most important things your IT team is going want to know, first and foremost:
- What it is: Your IT team has EVERY department at their doorstep asking for different technologies and no one person or department is going to be familiar with everything on the market. Make sure you can clearly articulate what the technology you’re asking about does, why it’s important to the business, and how it’s different than what you already have.
- Is it Trusted: While some companies are willing to be the first one to try a new technology that’s unproven by others, that’s the exception, not the rule, and a much harder sell. Your IT team is going to want to know who out there has already given the technology a go, and relies on it to help them meet the business need it’s designed to serve.
- Is it Secure: Network security is in the headlines for a reason – the consequences are dire if your company is breached. Your IT team will want to dig deep on the security protocols of the technology you want. They’ll want to understand what security tests they’ve passed, and understand things like tiers of sandboxing, layers of security, how it logs to ensure compliance, and on and on. Make sure your vendor is ready to provide every level of detail in this area, because concerns here can stop a purchase faster than anything else.
- Is it Multi-Tenant: In 2017, the promise of SaaS technologies, is that everything can we updated in one fell swoop – product updates, security patches, everything. If the solution you’re looking at is a single tenant solution, it’s essentially a digital “Etsy Project” that requires every instance to be updated one at a time – and you’ll probably get a “No.” Few companies want to risk out-of-date products and security patches that could be weeks or months in the making.
- Can it Scale: While your company may be small, very few corporations showcase anything other than a chart showing a hockey stick of growth in their boardrooms. Your IT team is going to be looking for solutions that can grow as your company grows, without having to be retooled to serve larger number of customers, add on additional functionality, etc.
- Is it Ready for Disasters: Data centers go down occasionally - it happens. However, smart companies look for solutions that have backups in the most robust type of data centers (Tier 3 and Tier 4) in geographically dispersed locations. That way, a hurricane in one area or an earthquake in another doesn’t mean your company is down until the infrastructure is restored.
- Is it Easy to Implement: If every new technology that came over your company’s digital transom was difficult and/or time consuming to implement, your IT team would grind to a halt. Your team is going to be looking for solutions that requires as little time as possible from IT, and once installed, are easy for the business unit to manage. They’ll want to understand from the vendor just exactly what they’ll need to do, before they feel they can commit to the resources to bring something else on board.
- Does it Support SSO: Nothing is more frustrating for users than a plethora of solutions all requiring a different password. Your IT team will rightfully expect that the solutions you choose support Single Sign On and comply with the standard authentication protocols to avoid creating a bad experience that drives users away.
- Does it Integrate Well: Many companies may offer an SSO integration – but an SSO does NOT mean that one solution integrates well with another at all levels beyond that first digital handshake Clugy connections that require tons of customizations to fully integrate solutions together are huge time hogs that rarely work well and result in siloed solutions and data. Your IT team will be looking for robust APIs and solutions that already have pre-built our easily configurable connections that let them plug one solution into another and move on. A prime example would be the integration of a PRM with a CRM solution.
- Are Updates Regular and Well Communicated: Your IT team will be looking for a cadence of regular updates AND assurance they’ll have advance notice when updates are coming. No one wants to go through the trouble of installing a new solution, only to find it quickly out of date. They also can risk being surprised by updates that require emergency configurations to resynch them with the rest of the network -- or they won’t work at all until someone can figure out what’s wrong and has the time to fix it.
- Does It Protect Data Integrity: If the data’s wrong, the system’s useless. Your IT team will be looking for how the solution synchs data to avoid duplicate records or if it has trouble synching data across multiple time zones. They’ll also expect the solution to have robust access policies to make sure only the right team members have access to data, and that any changes are made are tracked and logged, just in case it’s necessary to “roll back” to a better state if something catastrophic happens.
- Would it Be Cost Prohibitive to Cancel the Contract: Companies occasionally chose a solution and decide, for whatever reason, to change their mind. IT teams will want to know that it won’t be cost prohibitive to be able to finish a contract, and pay a one-time admin fee and move on. Fair enough.
Without question, that’s a lot to think about. However, by taking the time with your vendor of choice to have a fundamental understanding of these 12 key technical needs BEFORE you talk to your IT team, it will go a long way in establishing your credibility and helping you win their support to make the technology purchase you believe will best support your function’s business goals.
If you’re in the process of evaluating a PRM, click here to learn more about why your network will love our Impartner SaaS PRM solution.