Well we knew this was coming, right? It would be ludicrous to not anticipate a deeper focus on our spend for current and future initiatives. Let me share three things that I learned this week and how we responded to them.
#1 There’s No Shame In Changing the Game
Times are tough. What you could count on a few months ago, upon revisiting, might look dramatically different today. Don’t avoid the conversation. Ask the questions. Know who you are and where you are. Just because you could have easily signed on the dotted line to assumed terms back in February does not mean you can or should do that in the now. As a technology leader, you are a contributing partner to the university’s future. If you feel you need to reintroduce new terms, don’t be ashamed of that. Be real, be honest, be cautious. This week I feel like I pulled the rug out from under one of my colleagues as we needed to reassess our original terms. Upon reassessment, the terms needed to change. Here’s what I know: be conservative in your estimations and modeling. Your job is to appropriately manage university dollars. If that means disappointing a vendor, trust me, they’ll be ok with it.
#2 Prioritize Your Priorities
We had some super-fun efforts nestled in our budget for next fiscal year. Guess what’s not a priority right now? Me having fun. If you make the changes you need to make this year, you have many years ahead of you. Plus, what’s more exciting than focusing hard of savings over the course of the next fiscal year. Found money is simply the best! Well, next to found time.
#3 Always Request One Last 10%
In negotiating contracts for new campus solutions, always ask your provider for one last 10% discount. They can always say no and then you have a decision to make. The great thing about IT is, having experienced the finance department at car dealerships one too many times, IT vendors are a downright joy to work with.
During these times, as you are buttoning up decision-making and ensuing purchases, if you need to switch terms, do it. Keep an eye on all priorities and pick your battles and, in that final moment of negotiating, ask for that additional 10%.
This week we received final recommendations on three significant improvement efforts within IT. Decisions are happening. 16 of 20 weeks in the bag!
Almost 15 weeks ago the department of Information Technology at the University of Tulsa embarked on a 20-week challenge aimed at driving not only institutional technology change, but supporting a larger effort of driving an irresistible culture of embracing change and modernization in general. Given much of what’s needed tomorrow (ok, likely ten years ago) relies on a complete overhaul of our foundational technology systems and solutions, we challenged ourselves. End of fiscal year is a big check-in point for accomplishment and remaining time to completion.
Because we can. We’ve discovered in this new-found remote environment we have the capacity for more of different.
- We know where we stand. (week 1)
- We know where we need to be. (week 2)
- We take some hits. (week 3)
- We face a significant, unexpected obstacle(s). (week 4)
- We’re making progress and celebrating every step. (week 5)
- We’re on the path and we are empowering MORE. (week 6)
- Reinforce your weak spots for complete understanding. (week 7)
- Ignore boundaries and make a difference. (week 8)
- Know your limits. Then add more. (week 9)
- Halfway there! (week 10)
- Behind and coasting (weeks 11 and 12)
- Assessments keep us moving, ahead (weeks 13-14)
- One month to go! (week 15)
- Buying with Less (week 16)
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Are you non-technical and still mystified by technology leadership? I wrote an easy guide (Demystifying IT: A Pocket Guide for the Non-Technical) to clarify IT, explained in understandable language, and spells out what you should expect from your CIO. It’s currently free on Kindle Unlimited.