(Repost) What would you pay for bacon and eggs?
How much would you pay for this plate of bacon and eggs? (or substitute your favourite breakfast if you choose). I've paid anywhere from $2.99 to $15.00 for a breakfast that looks pretty much the same as the picture above. What made the $15.00 eggs worth that much? It certainly couldn't be the eggs themselves, since for the most part, there is not much differentiation in eggs. So what made the difference? Why would I willingly pay $15.00 for something I can get for $2.99?
It was everything that came with the food... the ambiance (and the cost of keeping up the premises), the skill of the cooks, the location of the restaurant, the people I was eating breakfast with, and most importantly, the service I received. The eggs themselves were not the sole measurement of value, but rather the whole experience of the breakfast. The total package was worth $15.00 to me.
If all I wanted were eggs, then I could head to the greasy spoon to get my $2.99 fix.
IT leadership needs to learn this lesson when we seek to communicate value to our executive leadership and customers. Too often we are focusing on the tactical deliverables our technology will provide, and as such we are granted the budgets to support buying "eggs". Why pay $15 when you can get them for $3? And so we are left to somehow provide support and implementation services on a lowest cost purchasing model.
If you have learned the language of the organization, and can frame your services in light of achieving institutional strategic goals, then the technology to support your services is a small part of the overall package. Your budget should be determined by services, not technology. This doesn't happen overnight, and will come as you have earned the trust of the organization that your IT department is fully aligned with supporting the organization's success.