T projects, especially infrastructure projects can be challenging to get approved.\nDiscuss the \u201ccost of downtime\u201d so senior management can understand the financial or risk implications, and you will get many more of your projects approved.\nSenior business managers don\u2019t tend to understand IT, nor do they want to. When you need their approval to fund many of the projects you need to do it is difficult for them to \u201clet go of the money\u201d when they don\u2019t understand what you are talking about.\nWe need to discuss our IT initiatives in a way that helps business executives visualize and understand what it is we are needing to do. Better yet, we need to help them understand the cost or risk implications of not doing a project.\nOne of the best ways to do this is to discuss the \u201ccost of downtime.\u201d\nWhen business managers can visualize the issue and they understand the cost implications in the risk, they usually find a way to get us the money if it\u2019s a project that truly provides business value for the company.\nTo do this, you want to do two things:\n\nDraw a picture to help them visualize the issue.\nGive them the downtime cost numbers.\n\nOK, so let\u2019s dive into these two points a bit.\n1.\u00a0Draw a picture\nWhen senior managers can visualize the issue they understand it. And when they understand a problem and the inherent risk they usually \u201cbuy in\u201d to your project recommendations.\nLet\u2019s use an example.\n Mike Sisco\nAssume you have an environment with 5 remote offices with connectivity through a wide area network (WAN) as shown above.\nIn these offices there are a total of 1,000 employees who need access to the company\u2019s technology to do their work. To create the connectivity there will be a router at each remote office location plus a router at your home office where a data center and your operational business application servers are located.\nIf your data center router fails and you have no backup router to switch over to, there will be 1,000 operational people without access to their business applications. The company won\u2019t stop running but there will be significant productivity loss with these employees. The longer the downtime continues the higher this productivity impact factor increases.\nEven without having the financial numbers, a CEO can visualize this issue and will begin comprehending the potential impact to the company, things like:\n\nProductivity loss\nClient satisfaction issues\nEmployee stress and morale issues\nPotential revenue loss\nPossible loss of clients\n\nIf you are asking senior management to approve putting in a backup router in your Data Center so the network automatically switches to the backup in case of a failure, this visual picture clearly shows the impact and makes it much easier to understand than simply discussing it in a \u201crouters and switches\u201d conversation.\n2. Share the numbers\u00a0\nYour message takes on real impact when you can share the \u201crisk value\u201d or \u201ccost of downtime\u201d with a downtime issue. Your ability to quantify the financial implications of this singe router failing is powerful. It says you understand the business impact, not just the technical impact; and this is a big difference.\nTo calculate the productivity impact financial number is a simple process:\n\nDetermine the average hourly salary of the impacted employees. You can get this easily from human resources or a senior manager in the operations side of the business. All you need is a rough estimate.\nDecide on the productivity impact factor. This can be as low as 10 percent to as high as 100 percent depending upon what the outage is and the nature of the work of the impacted employees. For the example we are using, most senior operations managers will give you a 30 to 50 percent impact at a minimum.\nCalculate the \u201cProductivity Cost Impact\u201d or you can call it the \u201cCost of Downtime.\u201d To do this: Cost of Downtime = (Impacted Employees) X (Productivity Factor %) X (Average hourly salary)\n\nIn our example shown with the image above, our productivity financial impact might be this:\n\n(1,000 impacted employees) X ($20 average hourly rate) X (50% productivity impact factor) = $10,000 per hour of productivity cost impact.\n\nIf the project cost is approximately $8,000 to put in a backup router, you need less than an hour of downtime to justify the project.\nThis makes it a \u201cno-brainer.\u201d However, if the senior manager who must approve such a project doesn\u2019t understand it, it\u2019s a major challenge getting approval.\nYou can use this approach for almost anything, such as:\n\nHardware failures of any type (from a company wide server like email to a single desktop computer)\nSoftware or business application failures (email, ERP system, etc.)\nEven vacant employee positions\n\nThe image below gives you a few examples and their calculations to arrive at productivity financial impact using the example environment we\u2019ve been discussing.\n Mike Sisco\nWant more insight? Watch the training class I published titled, \u201cCalculate Cost of Downtime to Help Justify IT Projects.\u201d\nThis 43-minute class provides download tools you see above plus insight into the dynamics of getting IT projects approved that can help you achieve more success.\nSummary\nUse some simple tools to help non-IT people visualize what you are saying and better understand your recommendations. When you can do this plus show them the numbers that quantifies the financial risk of downtime it can be smooth sailing in getting the approval and commitment you need.