Disruption is a ruthless force that leaves unprepared companies adrift in its wake. As IT director, you know what's at stake if your organization falls behind, so you stay on top of trends. You understand cloud migration benefits. You recognize how emerging technologies could make your company more competitive in a digital-first marketplace. More than anyone, you know how to stay ahead of the waves of change.
However, there's just one problem: You're not actually steering the ship — not until you master the art of C-suite communications.
Successful C-suite interactions position you as an invaluable resource whom senior leaders regularly consult and include in critical discussions. And isn't that way better than just being the one they yell at when servers go down?
Improving C-Suite Communications
C-suite members may already be aware of the benefits of migrating to the cloud, but beyond these rewards, they may also be worried about the risks.
They get that team collaboration and customer communication are important. They know cloud technology is the future — because, really, who doesn't know that? However, they have other considerations. They need to understand which technology will best address their problems, prioritize major IT projects, weigh risks against potential rewards, and agree on a solution.
You have that first part covered. For the rest, you just need the right C-suite communications strategy. But how do you come up with that?
Make the Business Case
First things first, executives want to know how an investment will make or save money. This means you have to learn to speak their language: risks, rewards, and return on investment (ROI). To calculate ROI, you need to know the following:
- The investment: Exactly how much the project will cost, including labor
- The projected return: A dollar figure associated with revenue gains, cost reductions, or improved productivity
Divide the net profit by the total investment, convert that number into a percentage, and you have the ROI. You can determine how many months it will take to recoup the initial costs and how the project will ultimately affect the business. That is music to C-suite ears.
Net It Out
Most senior leaders don't care how the technology works. Some don't even care what it does. However, they all want to know the end result of using it.
Saying new technology will improve communication isn't enough. Instead, describe how improving communication will drive business results. What will your organization be able to do that it can't already do? How will this change the user experience for your team or customers?
Talk About Tomorrow
Communications technology evolves rapidly. When you buy the latest smartphone, a new version comes out before you even finish paying your provider for the first one.
Executives won't feel confident abandoning legacy systems and software for cloud solutions if they're worried about having to do the same thing again in a few years. Explain how cloud solutions such as CPaaS and UCaaS scale with the business, how pay-as-you-go models keep upfront costs down, and how automated system-wide updates ensure you can always access the latest functionality and security features.
Know the Players
Gaining C-suite approval means convincing multiple people with different perspectives, personalities, and goals. It helps to know where they're coming from. Here are some examples:
- The CMO wants to know how any new technology affects the customer experience or automates user engagement.
- The COO wants to know how it will streamline operations.
- The CFO wants to know the cost.
Beyond that, every leader has unique challenges and priorities. By understanding what matters to each decision-maker, you stand a better chance of saying what that person needs to hear. Spend time with them. Ask about their technology needs and strategic goals. And if that doesn't work, invite their direct reports out for coffee and ask them.
The C-suite wants to address business communication gaps with cutting-edge technology. You know how to do that. To get their attention and respect, you just need to prove you see the big picture.
To learn more about cloud communications solutions, speak to a Vonage Business consultant.