Guest post from Mark Morton, Product Marketing, IBM Business Analytics
Recently, I participated at the Midmarket CIO Forum in Bonita Springs, Florida. I have attended many such events over the past few years allowing me to meet and present to hundreds of CIOs from midmarket firms.
At this event, I was honored to receive an award for "Commitment to the Midmarket" from the Advisory Board of the forum.
Actually, I think I should have given the award to them as the advisory board has given me and other participants so much great insight and advice at these events. The IT group has a major role in guiding organizations on the path to effective use of technology, such as business analytics, to accomplish business goals. So understanding what CIOs look for in presentations can go a long way to helping communicate the message broadly in an organization.
With that in mind, let me share some of their tips for giving effective presentations to a CIO:
Focus on the business value of the offering, not the technical specs. Often, the toughest job midmarket CIOs have is not getting the technology to work, rather, its communicating the value and need to the board of directors and other C-level executives. This is made easier by clearly articulating how the offering provides value in the terms used by the business people that the CIOs must persuade.
Don't try to "slip things past" CIOs. Chances are these folks started out smarter than you, and have had years of experience at finding weaknesses in product offerings. So sure, present things in their best light, but do not try to pretend your product has no faults if that is not the case.
They will not take comments at face value. They are going to validate claims with their peers. These folks are well connected and speak frequently with one another. A few quick calls, texts or emails let them get feedback from others in their space. Testimonials from others in their industry, local or network of peers will go a long way to help the cause.
Often the biggest shortage faced by midmarket CIOs is not money, but in-house skills. These people need to be sure that if a problem occurs, they have fast and ready access to those who can fix it. So be sure to provide information about where and how to find people trained in your offering and/or service level agreement information.
Broad vision is important, but the bottom line is results. Many midmarket CIOs are pragmatists at heart. They understand and respond to broad, exciting visions, but prefer solutions that are proven, solid and as simple as possible. Complex solutions have more "moving parts" that can fail at a critical time.
I am always impressed by how talented attendees at the midmarket CIO shows are, and how generous they are with their time and advice. If you get the chance, come to one of the events and see for yourself.
For more information:
**Read a posting on how to get more information from your data resources, also based on advice from leading CIOs
**Here is a link to information from the IBM CIO study