I’m Valerie Osinski and I serve as the Chief Executive Officer of RevTech360. I’ve been in technology for my entire career, including serving in CIO and CTO roles for organizations in various industries. Being in the buyer’s seat and making large technology purchases on behalf of an organization is a huge responsibility. We often hear that a technology purchase can be a “slow process”, but I assure you, the process is necessary. I’ve put together the top three things you need to know about a CIO/CTO buying process before they sign the contract. Here is the first thing you need to know.
1. Many factors are considered before making a large technology purchase (and money isn’t on the short list)
There are many things that need to be taken into consideration before making a large technology purchase and first on the list is not the obvious one. Immediately throwing money at a problem won’t solve the root issue.
Organizations needing to improve their business value will ask their leaders to drive the company forward in creative ways. In a CIO/CTO role, that usually means analyzing the backlog of work and finding solutions that automate by using technology and tools rather than manual entry or point to point integrations. When I was in the CIO/CTO buyer’s seat I would first group my backlog into buckets, such as integrations, feature enhancement/new development, security, and infrastructure. By grouping the backlog, I could identify priorities and emerging themes. Most importantly, I made sure any existing technology or tool couldn’t first be repurposed before considering a new thing.
2. Intentionally consider all the factors surrounding the purchase that would have an impact
Once I knew a new technology purchase was needed, I carefully reviewed the things that would have the most impact on the organization.
- Features and functions of the technology: analyze how they meet the needs of our users and organization, and consider if the technology could serve multiple backlog issues, departments, or teams
- Difficulty to learn: if the technology has a high learning curve, how long would our existing team need to dedicate to training (aka – not working on existing projects or solutions)
- Talent: how readily available is talent, either by direct hiring, contract, or training for expansion, attrition, and scale
- How quickly will we see value: how long will it take from signing the check to prove business value and return on investment
Once I balanced these factors, then I would look at cost. I knew once we signed the contract, payment would be expected soon. Certainly, cost is always a factor for any buyer, but if the benefits and value prove to move the needle then the conversation about budget gets easier.
3. The internal buy-in process is necessary and a smart business practice
A large technology purchase requires the buy-in from many in an organization and while some might consider this the part that “slows things down”, it really is the smart way to make a business decision.
When I would present to the C-level in an organization, my recommendation was filled with data, research, and evidence. I made sure to explain the backlog and ways the team attempted to solve the problem outside of a new purchase. I developed a timeline to clearly demonstrate the actions from time of purchase to seeing value, including how much backlog could be cleared and when the organization could see full implementation. Once I presented the why, how it would solve our business problems and the timeline, then I presented the investment cost.
The buyer’s seat from a CIO/CTO perspective is a delicate balancing act of best using technology with solving business problems. When I reflect on my career from this lens, I am very proud of the approach and knew the solutions I presented on behalf of the organization were grounded in research and data. Be sure when you work with buyers to give them all the necessary information upfront to inform a business decision and while cost is a factor, it’s not the only factor. Prove the value of your technology and how it helps quickly solve business problems.