Tactical Advice

4 Steps to Convince Your Boss Virtualization Works

Help your business leader improve the company with an irresistible virtualization proposal.
This story appears in the December 2011 issue of BizTech Magazine.
convince boss virtualization works

As I.T. leaders at Wingspan Portfolio Advisors, a mortgage servicing and portfolio acquisition company based in Carrollton, Texas, we understood all of virtualization’s benefits. We knew that the technology would help our rapidly growing company to operate more efficiently, productively and securely. We knew it would lower costs and deliver the foundation for new and valuable business services. The only major barrier blocking deployment was getting our manager to give his approval.

Our challenge was identical to the type faced by a growing number of IT managers who know that business computing’s future lies in flexible and economical virtualization. To achieve our goal, we followed a series of simple steps. This strategy worked for us, and we think it will help you, too.

  • State your case simply and clearly. Chances are, you know a lot more about virtualization than your boss knows. That’s good, because it places you in an ideal position to help him or her understand the value of implementing a technology that will benefit the company now and for many years to come. As you present your case, be sure to avoid buzzwords and technical minutiae that are important to IT people but confusing to most non-techies.
  • Support your proposition with proof. Once you’ve made your case, back it up with solid evidence. A good way to do this is with a proof-of-concept pilot. A small-scale test project, using even a ­single physical server, will effectively demonstrate virtualization’s benefits at relatively little cost. We showed our boss how we could reduce the time needed to build a server from days to hours. We also showed we could create and install an application, update it and then go back to a previous configuration — essential in the event that something was wrong with the application — all within minutes.
  • Prepare to counter any objections. As you prepare your case, try to anticipate your boss’s concerns and offer practical solutions. Our manager, for example, was anxious about high upfront costs. But we were ready to show how we could significantly reduce the initial outlay by starting with a minimal infrastructure investment that could be gradually expanded. That was the approach we eventually followed. We started small with one physical server and then virtualized other physical servers over time. Today, 95 percent of our servers are virtualized.
  • Don’t fudge the facts. Your boss didn’t reach his or her position by being gullible. If you exaggerate the benefits of virtualization or inflate the potential ROI, it will just take a short time before your boss learns the truth and begins wondering why you were so far off base. You can guess what will probably happen next.

Fortunately, virtualization has so many exceptional benefits that you won’t have to resort to deception. Simply follow the steps we’ve described above and you should have no problem transforming your boss into an enthusiastic virtualization fan. It certainly worked for us. 

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About the Author

Rob Smith and Diego Fierro

Rob Smith is IT director and Diego Fierro is network manager at Wingspan Portfolio Advisors.

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