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How can I "sell" my CEO on purchasing a file server...

By carltrimble ·
How can I "sell" my CEO on purchasing a file server. I do not have
any experience with upper management or their lingo. My company
does not have a file server and we need one desperately. But my
CEO wants to know why and how much money it will cost. I have a
looked around and think I am spending about $13,000 on one. I
think my CEO will get sticker shock and say no right away.

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ROI - Tricky

To "sell" your CEO, he needs to know there is going to be a Return on Investment on this purchase, and when this would be calculated to be.
Problem is, there are no hard and fast numbers you can throw at them.
You know you "need" a file server, the next step is to quantify why you need it. Interview employees to find out how much time they are wasting looking for files. Also give a dollar amount for how much revenue the company would lose if important files were lost because of a PC failure.

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Numbers

by TjD In reply to How can I "sell" my CEO o ...

You need to get all your numbers together. every number you can think of - actually quotes from vendors on prices, prices on warranties and service, actually costs of current system in $ on parts/service and hour in maintenance, savings on maintenance on current system. Benchmark your current system, find out number of minutes saved per person per week/month/year with new system.
Try to get manhour values from accounting. (a little aside - always stay friendly with accounting - if things at the company start to go bad they'll be the first to know) If you can cover the cost of the new system in savings in one year you're set. If not, compare the cost and savings and find the break even point then compare it to the life cycle of the new server...
It might sound complex, but once you start putting it into a spread sheet you'll get it.
If you need more value to sell it, start looking into the disaster recovery savings.
I looking to push a 50-80K budget for next year - not bad for a one man shop!
TjD

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For a small company?

by grbeckmeyer In reply to How can I "sell" my CEO o ...

I would assume so, since you don't currently have a server. I can see where sticker shock might set in, to go from having nothing to $13000 seems like quite a leap. I'd be curious to see more details of what you need out of this server. I know most vendors tend to try to 'oversell' on the hardware side. Like a 4-way 3GHz with 16GB ram and blazing 15k 10 drive array for a little company with 20-40 users. Total Overkill! I know it's good to plan for the future and go high end, but sometimes you might be better off going low end for a few years, and then the price on what WAS really high-end has dropped down to nothing. Also, again since you currently have nothing, I would think this might be an ideal circumstance for open-source. I would have to guess a good portion of that budget is for licensing, so maybe you could slash that.

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dollars and sense

by Redskin In reply to How can I "sell" my CEO o ...

In our org. we have 75 users. prior to my startiing all there was
in here was workgroups and everyone did thier own b/u. Think
about the cost of 50 users doing cd backups. Think about the
security of a workgroup and how users need to be informed on
the need to keep workstations safe and secure. By letting your
CEO know that having a fileserver in a secure loaction then files
will be safe and that you will be doing regular b/u of all files
and that will prevent data loss. To minimize costs we went to an
Apple G5 server with Apple server on it. That allows for
unlimited licensing as far as users seats.
We now have
Apple G5 with Apple server 10.3 this will cost you about the
same as a decent Dell server with 5 client licenses, add more
client licenses at $30 or more per client ,,, YIKES

75 users half PCs and half Apple workstations

PC- for PC dedicated software ie Government reporting
Non PC for Non specific workstations.

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Paint a Detailed Picture and then Frame it for the Executive Decision-maker

by YourAverageManager In reply to How can I "sell" my CEO o ...

Take a multifaceted viewpoint in presenting the case for purchase. Prove that the purchase provides benefit to each individual profit, cost center, and group. As indicated in other discussion responses find a champion in each department or group to help you capture what they perceive as advantages; this is an opportunity to listen and learn while anticipating the need to educate (sell) them on the advantages possibly within another or several meetings. Be prepared, go into meetings with some advantages to discuss or barrier to remove. You have some time, accept a soft no; do this in order to avoid cementing a hard NO position. Take the soft no and work on it (a different discussion).

Take what they convey and document it, the next meeting covers the document and their agreement (or disagreement) that it fairly represents their thoughts and considerations on the subject.

Be sure to ask and include discussion on how the item under consideration impacts the interaction between departments and groups; consideration at this LOB Executive/Department Manager level may include the functioning of departments or groups that are one step removed from their operation. Managers or Directors typically understand what the operations to the immediate left and right are doing, but are fuzzy beyond that immediate proximity. Walk into meetings with the understanding that a file server is a tool for the entire organization. Accounting, Human Resources, and IT are shared service functions, like the network they offer value as the thread that touches and connects everyone, as does the function of the CEO. Identify how the file server will help them at every level. In the Executive Summary discuss the advantages in the context of the entire organization operating within the larger business community; what are similar in size and type companies doing? Be sure to probe for future profit center plans that will be best facilitated by file server proposal. Identify past and present problems that are resolved by the implementation.

If you can partner up with Accounting and Finance to format the numbers and prepare the proposal, this will remove an anticipated barrier, they will become involved in the decision at some point, so why not address their concerns with this partnering approach. After all both Accounting and IT people appreciate rational decision making.

Do not forget to include the specific gold business and IT standards and practices that are then made available through implementation. Outline the end-user training program implementation plan. Decide if presenting policy on use helps or place that statement in the appendix.

Provide three purchase and implementation options, and put you full support behind what you and the majority of decision-makers agree is the best option. Include somewhere in the document a statement discussing how the file server is supported even through changes in IT staffing.

You see, the meeting to approve the proposal is only a formality, and an opportunity to shine brightly. You have removed all the barriers to acceptance within the process of preparing the proposal. Make it their proposal and justify it that way. You do this by getting them involved. Keep working on the proposal until you have sufficient buy in (consensus) with the department decision-makers. The picture that is painted depicts the larger group of managers supporting the purchase decision; their decision has already been made, and in rational business decision-making at the executive level this is the picture we want to see.

I?ll let others dive into the best hardware configuration, but remember to not sacrifice drive redundancy (RAID) and redundant power supply for cost savings. All it takes is an ill timed failure that removes end-user access for an extended period of hours to create the type of heat we never want to see. If cost considerations point to dipping below this level, do not proceed. The price you indicated appears to cover this recovery consideration.

Good luck, best regards, and hope this helps the wider TechRepublic membership,
YourAverageManager

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