Getting your Application Delivery/Virtualization project off the ground

Recently I've been running into a lot of clients and potential clients that are having a tough time getting upgrade and expansion projects off the ground. WIth this happening in such a diverse group of industries it looks to me that this is more the norm in today's economic environment.

Recently I've been running into a lot of clients and potential clients that are having a tough time getting upgrade and expansion projects off the ground.  WIth this happening in such a diverse group of industries it looks to me that this is more the norm in today's economic environment.  Yes? No?

IDC predicts that in 2008, worldwide IT spending will grow at a slower pace than 2007 and more recent years.  An IT budget that grows more slowly means less to spend on new projects, and a clear return of the frugal CEO and management, which means you have to show the ROI of your project now more than ever.  We've always had to justify the financial aspect of any projects, but this puts added pressure on us.

Here is what I've seen so far in 2008 and I'm going to predict that these trends will continue into 2009:

    * New projects are fast becoming more difficult to get off the ground as discretionary spending is seeing the biggest cutbacks - making it harder to get attention for any new proposals not already on the planning roadmap.  Make sure you are working to build your case and get your project on the roadmap.
    * Prioritize proposed projects and gaining management approval will rely more than ever on quantifying return on investment and proving quick payback.

So what can you do?  Well after years of experience I can tell that there is no substitute for having the right tools and information at your disposal to build your case.  So here is what I have done successfully in the past:

    * I'm all about using white papers, research and collateral to generate interest and position the project properly in a more frugal landscape.
    * I have used benchmarking tools to identify and quantify competitive gaps and drive management with quantifiable compelling reasons to change/upgrade, etc
    * Your partners have value-oriented sales tools to quantify the benefits of proposed solutions and projects, lowering IT infrastructure and operations costs and generating business value, investment required and ROI, so use your partners to the fullest extent in helping you build your case.  If they are your "trusted advisor" they should already be offering to help you do this.

Now we all know that any vendor ROI/TCO tool can be skewed to produce results in favor of that particular vendor, so I highly suggest using other third-party tools for independent third-party validation behind a business value assessment, to add credibility and overcome this skepticism.

With the right planning and homework you can put your project on the fast track and really gain some valuable management support by having the numbers handy when they ask the questions.

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