How to convince senior management to move your help desk to the cloud

If you haven’t convinced senior management to move the help desk to the cloud, don’t fret.

If you haven’t convinced senior management to move the help desk to the cloud, don’t fret. The most common objection to new technology is the anticipation of imagined problems.

The person who loves physical books fears that an e-reader will ruin the experience. The person who takes calls with a wired headset assumes that a Bluetooth earpiece will run out of battery or not be loud enough. Likewise, the executive against a cloud-based help desk fears that it will be costly, insecure, or no better than the current system.

To get more tactical, let’s divide senior management into different personas and discuss how to get them past their imagined fears:

1. Senior Management Without IT Experience

At small companies, IT people often work beneath a CEO, CFO, and COO who know little about information technology. They don’t see the need for a help desk, let alone one that exists in the cloud, which few people conceptually grasp. 

The non-IT mindset is, “You and your team solve all our IT problems already. Clearly you don’t need the software to do this. Why should we spend money on it?” They think of a help desk as a cost, not a cost-saver. You need to collect some data that will help you prove the opposite:

  • What software licenses do you pay for annually? What is their cost?
  • What devices do you own? What did they cost?
  • How many hours do you spend troubleshooting those devices and software solutions? What is the cost of the labour and downtime?
  • With a cloud-based help desk, how much wasted money could you recover?

Essentially, you need to create a competition you know you can win. By redirecting the conversation from “here’s what a help desk does” to “here’s what it will save,” you switch into language that business-people understand.

The cloud will help you make an offer that’s too good to refuse. Stress that you could use the help desk for one year, and if you don’t save money, the company can just stop using the service. Compare it to ridesharing or a rental car.

2. Senior Management in an IT Organisation

Let’s say that your senior managers are IT people who understand the benefits of a help desk. They recognise that it keeps employees productive and customers happy. They fear the safety of the cloud, not the cost of software. Public clouds have an unfair reputation for being unsafe. Sure, companies that deal with sensitive data and strict regulations justifiably use on-premises infrastructure or private clouds to maximise security.

Those same organisations fear that a help desk in the public cloud would leak sensitive customer information or become an attack vector for hackers. You need to give senior management a serious reality check. IT service data contains no customer information. None. In the unlikely event your help desk data gets hacked, what are the attackers going to do with log files? How will knowing the number of Microsoft licenses at an organisation help hackers carry out their master plan?  Attack the security fears first. Then talk about the price differences between on-premises and cloud-based help desks.

3. The Multinational Organisation

You work in the IT department of a global company. Years ago, someone in IT bought infrastructure for the help desk. Senior management doesn’t want to squander that investment unless there’s something to gain. Make the case that a cloud-based help desk offers a strategic advantage: speed.

When multinational organisations with an on-premises help desk acquire another company, integrating the new offices and end users can take an entire year and cost an obscene amount. Conversely, a cloud-based help desk shaves that yearlong process down to roughly three months. To win senior management over to a cloud-based help desk, review those scenarios where IT services ground to a halt amidst an acquisition or expansion to a new country. Show the cost of that painful integration and the consequences of not having the help desk up and running. Make the case that a cloud-based help desk will give the organisation a competitive edge in such periods of aggressive growth.  

Bring up the cost of on-premises infrastructure, too. Like cars, high-performance servers start losing their value as soon as you buy them. The software licensing fees also eat into what is likely an insufficient and strained IT budget. The subscription costs of a cloud-based help desk pale in comparison to the upkeep of on-premises infrastructure. Remind senior managers that you can test a cloud-based help desk at a few locations before scaling it to the whole company.

Enough Rope

One of these arguments, or a combination, might convince senior management to try a cloud-based help desk. Maybe you’ll sweep away the anticipated problems looming in their imagination. Maybe you’ll find an enthusiastic partner in senior management.

More likely than not, you’ll get just enough rope to hang yourself. Your best partner will be the help desk vendor that cares about your success as much as you do.

Sarah Lahav, CEO of SysAid Technologies

Image source: Shutterstock/bluebay