by David Chou

4 tips for selling a transformation project to your CEO

Feb 18, 2021
Digital Transformation

A successful transformation initiative can establish your position as a business leader, not just a technology guru u2013 but first you have to sell it to your boss.

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Selling a transformation project includes embracing technology while aligning it with company strategy to achieve company growth and success. So how should you go about selling your transformation project to your CEO and a peer group that may be resistant to change? The tips below will arm you with the kind of information you need to persuade your organization to adopt the transformation project.

Focus on cross-department problems

The first thing that should happen in a transformational project is eliminating traditional business silos that have developed over the years. Encourage greater collaboration and interchange among employees so that everyone can see the value in working together to achieve a goal. As CIO, you should focus your efforts on helping this process instead of controlling it because your role will be much more valuable in this capacity. Becoming a good storyteller can help everyone understand all the issues involved much better because people (including employees) will pay much more attention to a good story than a simple directive issued by any manager. 

Translate the complex 

To show how technology is a big part of your transformation project, simplify the whole explanation process by describing how it will benefit the company, rather than on how it works or what makes it so successful.

Complex issues can generally be reduced to much clearer concepts when they’re associated with facts and figures. For example, a healthcare CIO can convince their CEO by showing the impact the project will have on patient care/safety and why this should become part of the company DNA. If they were to try and persuade the CEO with tons of high-sounding concepts and benefits, they might confuse the issue hopelessly. By pinning advantages to focus on patient quality, the healthcare CIO is on much firmer ground. 

Show tangible metrics and ROI

Providing a thorough and thoughtful ROI analysis will be another strong rung of support for your project, and it’s one you should not overlook in your presentation to the CEO. Return on investment is compelling for any company manager because it’s a bottom-line concept that tells you exactly what you’re getting for the money invested.

When you can demonstrate the value received by your company for the resource investment, it can be a very strong argument for your project. Decide which metrics best show the company’s benefit and make excellent use of these critical metrics when you’re arguing your case to the CEO. If you choose the right metrics and clearly show your project’s value to the company, you shouldn’t have to do as much persuading.

Change the IT internal culture 

The foundation of a transformational project requires a significant change in the department culture. IT staff members consist of support personnel who do whatever is necessary to maintain the company network, hardware, and software to enable essential technology functions for customer care or, in the case of the healthcare CIO, patient care. 

The department must evolve from acting as a supportive function to a more proactive role to seek out emerging technologies while finding ways to incorporate innovative solutions into the technology portfolio.

A big part of this function also includes establishing the prerequisite security to safeguard business-critical information assets and prevent unauthorized access. While information security is important, however, do not make it so restrictive that it prohibits an organization from advancing in modern times.  

Practice these four tips as your pitch to the CEO on a transformational project. It will go a long way toward keeping your organization at the forefront of your industry and establish your position as a business leader in the field vs. a technology guru.