More often than not, IT managers are ingrained in sustaining a comfortable, stress-free status quo. High level executives want their IT departments to maintain an efficient workflow level for the company and to make sure other departments are equipped with the tools to facilitate growth. But some of the biggest obstacles are often the simplest with IT, and it usually ends up being all about one thing…the money. So when you as a sysadmin bring up a request to implement an IT monitoring system to your boss and he shrugs it off due to the costs involved, an understandable level of frustration settles its way into your department. Just because your boss says “Well how much does it cost?” doesn’t mean the discussion stops there. If you need IT monitoring system in place but are tight on getting approved for resources, here are 5 tips to keep in mind when attempting to sell IT monitoring to your boss.
- Clarify The Need and The Value– If you want your supervisor to take this request seriously, there has to be a clearly laid out plan which summarizes why there is a need for IT monitoring and, more importantly, how it can contribute not only value to the company, but specifically benefit bottom line. Almost all companies have gone through some sort of malware issue or system downtime, and these problems turn into larger roadblocks when there is no monitoring support system behind their infrastructure. This can often result in the loss of millions of dollars for a company. Simple math says that even extremely high end monitoring software packages that cost in the high hundreds of thousands are still one tenth that of the average data breach or service interruption. Reference specific examples from the past which demonstrate how an IT monitoring system could have prevented a breakdown within the department as well as how it will create future continual value for the company. Even using real time numbers that your boss can then use for his budgeting purposes will make it more likely that stakeholders will take notice.
- Align with Business Strategy– Along with demonstrating the general value of IT monitoring, it is important to be transparent in regards to the specific strategy of your business. If your company is aggressively trying to expand, explain how IT monitoring will make the business more agile and attractive in a competitive market. If your company is cutting costs and focused on margins, explain how the visibility added by a monitoring system will assist in being a cost-effective tool. Implementing an all-encompassing monitoring system is ideal, but it is likely that you will need to compromise with your boss in order to pick the solution which will directly support your company’s primary functions. Prioritize your monitoring needs into easily identifiable categories which align with business strategy, and it will peak the interest of your boss who has the responsibility of finding tools which will help the company reach its goals.
- Set a Tone of Confidence– This tip may vary depending on your level of experience at your particular company, but if you are a managerial sysadmin who is presenting a potential IT monitoring system to your boss, having an impressive track record greatly heightens the chance of implementation. When your boss ultimately makes the final decision, he/she is placing their trust not only in the product, but also in you as an advisor. Therefore, it is essential to relay a sense of confidence when presenting your case for an IT monitoring system. A good way to gain that confidence is to try out some systems on your own. Most monitoring systems have freemium versions with a small device count ceiling. Becoming a self-learned expert will definitely help when your boss does start to get into the knitty gritty details. When this does happen, be prepared, be concise, and be enthusiastic about the opportunity of being a difference maker within your department. If you are passionate about making life easier for your colleagues, the reassuring energy should transfer over to the higher ups who have the final say.
- Acquire Allies: Don’t Go at It Alone– Office politics might be the biggest unwanted obstacle when looking at an extensive software solution, especially for sysadmins. Even if you are the primary person in your IT hierarchy who has the job of pitching new products to your manager, the chances of being successful grow when the initiative becomes a team effort. If other sysadmin’s, developers, and engineers strongly agree that there is a dire need for monitoring, your argument becomes that much more persuasive. Do not try to overpower your boss by sheer numbers, but rather present a variety of examples of when your team could have joined forces to defuse an IT emergency by means of IT monitoring. These applicable scenarios will help your boss see just how much more than a piece of software he/she is getting from obtaining the tool. It is also wise to include the team of whichever monitoring service you are pitching because no matter how much research you do on their product(s), they will naturally be able to “sell it” and convincingly explain the intricacies of the system. With the right grouping of allies on your side, IT monitoring may become a reality instead of a perceived plea to cut your sysadmin workload by your boss.
- Don’t Hide the Costs– The last thing you want to do is try to trick your supervisor by hiding the final cost of the recommended IT solution. Even if you are afraid that the pricing plan may be higher than your budget, being honest about it upfront is much better than your boss finding out about separate side fees after coming to an official agreement. Clearly lay out the dollar figures of the proposed IT monitoring system and don’t sell yourself short by opting with the cheapest solution. While the low price tag may be attractive to upper management, you are setting yourself up for failure by choosing a product that is of lesser quality and not fully capable of monitoring your infrastructure. You get what you pay for, so don’t go through the process of selling your boss on IT monitoring with an inferior system.
If you ultimately want to sell your boss on IT monitoring, work with your team to showcase the relevant value of a quality system. Be believable with your presentation and put your department in the best position to succeed. If you’ve already done all this and your boss is willing to dedicate resources, then you are ready for the fun part of evaluation. Check out our “IT Monitoring: How to Make the Right Choice” Buyer’s Guide to see an unbiased look at the industry, the companies, and their specializations.