How to Communicate the Business Value of Your Tech Innovation
One of the most common questions I get as a technology strategist is: how do we communicate the value of a new solution or promising technology…especially to executives who don’t necessarily “get” technology?
The question usually comes from a frustrated manager or salesperson who has tried — and largely failed — to secure a budget for a significant technology investment because the (seemingly) irresistible force of their tech-centered sales pitch met the immovable object of the executive team’s results-obsessed mindset.
What they discovered is that selling technology on its capabilities as opposed to its business value are two very different things. And their attempts to woo the executive audience on the basis of features and functions fell undeniably flat. In fact, in some cases, they made them downright angry, leading to incredulous responses like You want us to invest how much? For this!?
While I sympathize with these folks, the fact is they usually have themselves to blame. They’re guilty of breaking the golden rule of persuasive communication — speak to your audience’s interests. In this case, they failed to address the key question every executive team asks when evaluating a proposal: what is the business value of this technology?
I want to address this issue, by looking at a simple and structured way of communicating the business value of technology.
When an executive team asks: what is the business value of this technology? what they’re really asking is: 1) how does this technology benefit our stakeholders, and 2) how does it contribute to our business strategy?
The first question relates to value creation — specifically, stakeholder value and the ability of the technology to generate positive returns for the individuals and groups that have an interest in the organization. This can include financial benefits — delivered primarily to the organization’s owners and shareholders — and non-financial…