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In these tight times, it’s tough getting senior decision makers to buy into IT projects, especially integration projects.

But there are certainly approaches that give IT staffers a better chance of success, and Sterling Commerce’s Director of Industry Development John Stelzer shared some of them with viewers of the expoQ webinar Getting Executive Buy-In For Integration Initiatives, part of the webinar series A Managers' Guide to Enterprise Integration, sponsored by Sterling Commerce.

Remember going in that you’re on solid tech ground: “Integration is at the heart of every effective electronic commerce initiative … automation without integration is futile, because it means you still have manual intervention with its adverse effects on time and accuracy,” Stelzer remarked.

Also realize that senior execs often fall into two categories: the “merely unknowing” who can be helped by improved communication, and the “unknowing and unwilling” who require an emphasis on broad and tangible results instead of technical terms and tools.

So among the key strategies to keep in mind, Stelzer says, are speaking the language of senior management, and addressing the things they care about.

That means avoiding IT acronyms at all costs, for instance. And no tech talk. “Even phrases like enterprise application integration should be dropped in favor of a less technical description like ‘having the right information at the right place at the right time,’” Stelzer maintained.

What’s more, “Upper-level executives often invest their time working on quarterly performance metrics, fine-tuning the strategic direction, responding to competitive threats, trying to improve market position and increasing investor worth and financial stability. Unless your initial contribution seems to contribute to one or more of these objectives, it’s very difficult to get it on their radar screen,” he noted.

Stelzer described how precisely timed “elevator and hallway speeches” (punched up with “head-turning” statistics from specific industry analysts and case studies) can show how increased data accuracy and availability cuts or avoids costs by reducing errors and cycle time, liberating resources, and affecting other specific performance metrics often pored over by executives concerned with both top- and bottom-line performance.


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