By Reid Smith-Vaniz
The benefits of enhancing your storage infrastructure may be clear to you, but you must be able convey those benefits to your IT Director or CIO, in order get the funding or go-ahead for the project. The key is to explain how the technical enhancement you’re proposing delivers business benefits to the entire organization. Here are some proven tips on how to do that and get your boss and/or his boss on board with a storage upgrade.
1. Talk about the availability of the solution like an insurance policy.
Let’s say the cost of a new storage array is $100,000 and you’re going to keep it for three years. Ask your boss: Is it worth about $100 a day to have a system we can rely on? Compare that to the amount we spend for professional liability coverage for the company. Is it worth $100 a day to have a system we can trust that protects our data and keeps it available? Clearly, it is.
2. Offer a leasing option, which becomes an operating expense.
Your company may have never leased equipment, but it doesn’t hurt to have a leasing option in your back pocket when you go talk to the director. With leasing, your company doesn’t have to come up with $100,000 upfront to buy the array, it can pay $3,000 a month and lease it. What’s more, the lease can be treated as an operating expense instead of a capital expense.
3. Highlight one to three technical benefits.
Be sure to translate these into business benefits. For example, one technical benefit may be snapshot technology, which will help you improve testing and development. Why does that matter? Because it will help your company launch more applications that are safer, which will build trust internally in the IT organization, which will reduce the stress on the technical team. It will also have a positive impact on recruiting and retention for the internal team, because you’ll have enough capacity and tools to do proper testing, reducing stress on the team members. In addition, snapshot technology impacts customer relations, because customers will be confident you’re launching thoroughly tested, stable applications.
4. Show how it will reduce stress for the director.
The director or CIO has multiple people to keep happy: DBAs, other technical staff members, the app development group, and so on. The more disk storage space the director can give someone to do their job, the happier they’ll be. With more spindles, the DBAs will have more space to make copies of the database and will be able to do their jobs better. They’ll spend less time complaining about not having enough space and more time optimizing databases—which is what directors and CIOs want DBAs to do. Think about how you can sell additional capacity not as a technical benefit, but as a way to reduce the stress on internal IT organization so your people can focus on making the business better.
5. Show how it will allow the director’s team to focus on future projects, not managing storage.
If you’re going to design a system, do it right the first time. Give it plenty of room to grow. That way, you won’t have to spend extra hours reconfiguring the system after buying it. True, you may have unforeseen growth and some issues, but adding a buffer of additional capacity into the system or upgrade you buy will save you work later on. If you’ve spent a lot of time reconfiguring in the past, see if you can quantify that, and talk about the qualitative downside of spending time on that rework. For example, a technical staff member may have left, tired of rework. Talk to your boss about time saved not having to recruit new employees and other business benefits.
All these benefits are important to decision-makers; they translate into a positive, ongoing ROI that makes it easier to justify allocating resources to a storage upgrade. So good luck making your case—and if you need some specific advice about how to position an upgrade and what it can do for you, just give the experts at Reliant a call.