It’s probably not news to you that in a world of competing priorities and resource constraints, it can be challenging to persuade stakeholders to give your project the green light. We’ve heard from our customers that this is especially difficult when admins and their higher-ups are experiencing a problem from different perspectives; while admins have intimate knowledge of the technical limitations and risks of failing to adapt, decision-makers control the purse strings, and may not be swayed on technical merits alone. As one customer put it, asking your boss to spend more money on a tool that makes your job easier is a tough sell.
Knowing that this is a persistent challenge our customers are facing, we sourced some tips from Jira admins who have successfully aligned with key decision-makers on technical upgrades. We asked them: how did you convince your team to upgrade to Jira Service Desk Data Center? Their valuable takeaways apply to a variety of use cases, from advocating for increased headcount on your team to pitching a new marketing strategy.
Identify your stakeholders’ values and priorities, and connect your concern to theirs.
When it comes to persuading others (of anything, really), understanding your audience is key. What do they care about? What are their priorities? What does their boss care about? As you think through this, you can develop a more nuanced communication strategy. The language and benefits you highlight to your IT department will look quite different from the version you deliver to your CFO. Ask yourself how the problem you’re highlighting impacts them, and what value your solution offers.
For example, when it came to making the case for Data Center at a university, one Jira admin acknowledged that the dean was not particularly concerned about which tool was being used from a technical standpoint, as his primary concern was ensuring the students and staff could get answers quickly.
The admin pitched his case for an upgrade by focusing on the benefits of having a centralized help desk, since it would 1) give end-users one place to seek help from multiple teams and 2) save money – all these teams were using different, expensive tools, so they were overpaying. This was a win-win, giving the dean a solution that would add tangible value to students and staff while giving the Jira admin the control he needed to maintain a performant system with full visibility.
Tailor your message to match your stakeholders’ communication style.
We all communicate differently. For some people, an emotional narrative with a hero who saves the day resonates. For others, that strategy would fall flat. Your audience would interrupt you minutes into the story demanding to see the numbers.
One admin we spoke to at a defense company knew the decision-maker he needed to win over was a “Numbers Person.” In order to show the benefits of a deployment upgrade (and the costs of foregoing it) in dollars and cents, he recommended calculating a few key expenditures, like planned downtime to upgrade over the weekend (which meant overtime wages for staff) and the peripheral cost savings that could be realized by leveraging out-of-the-box Data Center features like single sign-on that would make paid Marketplace add-ons obsolete. The more customized your calculations are to your specific context, the more likely your stakeholder is to be swayed.
To learn more about the ROI of Jira Service Desk as your ITSM solution, read Forrester’s Total Economic Impact of Atlassian for ITSM report.
Develop a long-term vision and score an early win
One Jira admin we spoke to said that, before pitching a solution to a decision-maker, it’s essential to define your long-term vision and its implementation phases. Ideally, you can begin work on the first phase of your plan before pitching your idea so that you can share initial success and demonstrate feasibility.
For more inspiration (or light bedtime reading), check out our ITSM Customer Story eBook to learn how organizations from all industries and sizes have reimagined their ITSM approach.
For example, this admin’s vision was to create a centralized service desk across an entire university so that students, faculty, and staff could get help from financial aid and IT to payroll and facilities all in one place. While he was fairly confident the university would be receptive in theory, he was worried that the higher-ups would not believe it was possible to unite so many different departments on a standard platform.
To preempt this critique, he set up the service desk and onboarded just one team. From there, he was able to iterate and improve the onboarding experience so that the next team and help-seekers he rolled the service desk out to were even more receptive. By the time he needed to make the case for increased investment to unlock additional functionality and improved performance, he already had high adoption rates and a proof of concept.
If you don’t have a vision yet for your help desk, or for any of your Atlassian tools, this admin recommended getting started by reaching out to the Atlassian Community or your other professional networks.
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We’re always partial to the wisdom of Jira admins. When it comes to convincing your co-worker, spouse, or car mechanic to “do it your way,” why not rely on the sage advice of a Jira admin to know your audience, match their communication style, and create an inspiring and feasible vision?
And, when it comes to convincing your boss or senior leadership that it’s time to invest in Data Center, we heard from these admins and other community members that they’d like more help from Atlassian. We’re hard at work continuously developing executive-level content and improving how we organize our existing resources to make it easier for you to find your way.
As a first step, we’re sharing the most recent version of our Data Center Business Case Toolkit, where you can download product-specific information sheets, customizable email templates, and more.