How to convince a non technical CEO to think of IT

In a recent article in tech republic posted by Mark Schiller, he highlights the strategies that “make your CEO a massive tech advocate”, he highlights that Professor Ping Wang of the University of Maryland and his team identified the business impacts associated with the method and manner of adopting different types of technologies. In particular, they were able to demonstrate a very strong correlation between the adoption of “hip” or “fashionable” technologies and key business indicators. In other words, they found that companies that approached “hip” or “fashionable” IT in a particular manner enjoyed important business benefits.

Giving statistical facts, he continues to suggest that CEOs have a high tendency of investing in IT products that positively boost their image and reputation (i.e. fashion in this context). In my earlier blog post (On where things stand between Open Source and Closed Source systems), I had pointed out that executives are totally in a world of their own – A corporation’s investment decisions into IT tends to think technology in terms of ROI, not in terms of how its suppost to work. This is why they prefer to tag the reputation they have in IT to Apple or Microsoft. Apple and Microsoft makes more sense to their ROI, when it comes to compliance to established standards in IT their clients would trust them more if they wore fashion from Microsoft or Apple then if they wore fashion from corporations that have lesser impact in the IT space. In Mark’s article Mark continues to state that “A company’s association with hip IT correlated to an increase in the CEO’s pay. For every $1 million a company invested in fashionable tech, the CEO received a $45,000 bump in compensation, on average, the following year — REGARDLESS of how the company actually performed.”

Secondly, You need to align IT to what makes the clock in the CEO’s head tick. If the CEO wants to launch a PR / CSR campaign about AIDS, you are better off starting a conversation with your CEO about how you could “improve” the AIDS campaign through IT.

Look at it this way: When you go to a bank that offers Online Banking services, when it comes to banking and online security, would you prefer a bank that uses Cisco routers and technology gadgets over a bank that has its networks built on systems from smaller players? This is the same way corporates think about clients. If you tag your implementation to “fashionable IT” it will sell your IT strategy.

I guess this answers your question then 🙂

About Ahmed Maawy

Ahmed Mohamed Maawy is a seasoned technologist with over a decade of experience growing and leading technology products across the African continent - Currently the VP for Engineering at Streamlytics. In his role as VP of Engineering at Streamlytics he leads engineering product development for both B2C and B2B products. Prior to Streamlytics his work spanned leading engineering at Griffin Kenya (an InsureTech Company) as the Chief Technology Officer to working for innovative and disruptive startups like EveryLayer Broadband, Ushahidi, and one of Time's Magazine 50 most genius companies BRCK; the only company in East Africa that designs its own complete hardware and software stack. Most recently he was at the Al Jazeera Media Network, working on both Digital & Broadcast technical integrations. He was part of the team that launched Al Jazeera’s streaming service AJ+ and was heavily involved in the organization's Media Archive Artificial Intelligence projects. Ahmed is a respected leader and pioneer in the Kenyan technology community, his work having been featured in Quartz Magazine, Fast Company & Huffington Post. He sits on the advisory board for CIO’s East African leading Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence conference, the East Africa IoT and AI Summit.
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