Archives For selling to CIOs

dropboxHow should you approach the CIO?

Last week, while at the Boston lunch & learn I did with IOvations, I had the opportunity to engage with several CIOs over lunch (by the way, 89% of them signed up for an assessment.) I always take time to talk to executives when I can – it keeps me up to date on what they are thinking, what their concerns are, and more importantly, what they look for in a technology provider.

This one issue concerning Dropbox caught my attention – not only did one of the CIOs I met mention it, but the same issue was in the Wall Street Journal a few days later.  It’s the Dropbox approach to calling high.

I don’t like it.

In Clint Boulton’s WSJ article, CIOs See Employees Become Sales Vehicle for Unauthorized Cloud Services, he talks about the CIO’s reaction when Dropbox calls to sell them corporate licenses. According to the article, the reps are telling the CIO that they already have 300 people in the company using their free product in the cloud, so why not formalize it?  Apparently CIOs don’t like this approach.

The CIO I spoke to had the same reaction when Dropbox called on him.  He realizes that he has a problem, Dropbox won’t tell him who has the service (and they shouldn’t), but he’s unlikely to go with Dropbox – in fact he seemed annoyed by this approach.  Manipulated.

Be Your Own IT – The Future of IT Services

This is the future. End-users are going to be their own IT. CIOs have a challenge in front of them. The end-user has a job to do, and whatever apps or tools they can use to speed things up, they’re going to use. There’s no need to wait on IT. The problem is security. Using an unauthorized version of Dropbox will likely lead to end-users storing top-secret stuff in the a less secure place; the public cloud.  And since it’s not the corporate version, it won’t be centrally managed. And, when that employ leaves the company, who will have control of that data?  There are numerous issues here.

The point is, CIOs are not going to be happy about this.

So taking the Dropbox approach of, “Your people are already using my stuff, so why not formalize it,” doesn’t seem to sit well with the CIO who already feels like he’s lost control.

Regaining Control of IT.

What CIOs really need is a way to regain control.  It would be better to approach this with sympathy and some answers. “You have a lot of people using our cloud services.  This is probably not in line with your corporate policies. In fact, it may be a violation of federal regulations in your industry! So let’s see if we can figure out a better way to serve your company.”

The CIO may still not like it, but they need to feel like you’re on their side. After all, if data is compromised, the CISO and CIO are going to take the hit, not the end-user who signed up for Dropbox.  And the more cloud apps and tablets become the business tools of today, the less control the CIO is going to have. They can’t block this. We’ve seen this before with CIOs trying to restrict chat, SMS, and even Internet access itself.

In my Boston session I took this approach. I explained the importance of allowing Internet access…and promoting a high-tech approach that Millennials will embrace.  But I also shared the problems. I then provided some answers. That’s what the CIO, and the Small Business Leader need. Answers.

© 2015, David Stelzl

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imagesI arrived in Denver this afternoon for the Accuvant National Sales Kick-off Meeting downtown.  I got an added bonus, meeting with Identity Theft expert and Author John Sileo at the Starbucks across the street from my hotel.  John has been a long time friend and associate  through the National Speakers Association – in preparation for tomorrow’s presentation, John and I had the opportunity to discuss issues surrounding company data security and the future of CISOs and CIOs.

This is a critical time for businesses in the US.  Cyberwarfare capabilities continue to mount around the world – our own government admits they can’t keep hackers out of our networks, analysts have told us that Chinese hackers have infiltrated every major company in this country, and our nations largest banks are reporting endless denial of services attacks on online banking systems over the past several months.

Meanwhile, new technology demands are changing the security landscape.  Big data, mobility and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), collaborative technologies and social business applications, and cloud demands are increasing.  The CIO is stretched between maintaining the operational side of the business and leading the charge on these transformational technologies that serve both employees and customers.  The CISO must morph into someone who can support and secure these changes as their business adopts new ways of serving their clients.

Tomorrow I will be speaking to sales people, specially targeting security business in the mid to large markets – on just how the sales role must change in order to meet the demands of the future CIO and CISO.  These technology officers must become more strategic to the business – and as they do that, they will need trusted advisers.  Just as all good leaders surround themselves with trustworthy advisers, these leaders will need more of it.  With the ongoing demands of operations, and the fast pace changes taking place across the technology areas I’ve mentioned, who can keep up.  In a recent interview with a CIO, I was told, “We need more advisers, yet it is nearly impossible to find good ones.” This is a sad commentary on the reseller business…there are thousands of resellers in any major city, and countless vars across the States, yet, these technology leaders are having trouble finding qualified advisers.  This sounds like an opportunity for someone who is willing to take time to do just a little reading each morning.

© 2013, David Stelzl