IT managers often need to work through an executive intermediary, such as a CFO, CIO, or VP who acts as an advocate for IT initiatives. The advocate may not understand IT issues in depth, making it difficult for him or her to argue in favor of IT proposals.
The intermediary who advocates for IT is usually a senior executive with a very busy schedule. That makes it hard for the IT manager to find time to present his or her proposal.
The IT manager lacks control over the advocacy process, putting decisions that affect his or her day-to-day work beyond his reach.
While having an advocate limits the IT manager’s direct access to decision-makers, it also confers specific advantages. The advocate can provide credibility, guidance, and access to company and external resources that the IT manager would not have on his or her own.
IT managers often complain that they lack access to their advocate. Oftentimes, the IT manager loses access because the value of his or her proposal does not justify the effort required to weigh its merits. Reducing the cost of the proposal process will help you gain influence with your advocate.
The advocacy scenario carries specific risks for the IT manager: risk to his or her reputation and that of the advocate, risk to his or her relationship with the advocate, and broader political risks. The IT manager must weigh the risks before he or she contacts the advocate, since he or she loses control of the proposal once the advocate agrees to promote it.
Impact and Result
Strategize to reduce the cost of your proposal process and improve your ability to achieve success in the advocacy scenario.
Assess the risks and costs of the proposal process before you begin. Weigh the benefit of your proposal and the odds of success.
Strategize for specific scenarios that can complicate the proposal process.
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