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Need advice on how to make case to upper management for IT purchases

Posted on 2012-04-11
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Last Modified: 2012-04-11
Our server are old and failing...I need to find ways to make a presentation to upper management to validate the need for purchasing new hardware and software and services.

How do I go about putting this together, does anyone have templates or examples or experience doing this.

Our SharePoint Server is 12 years old, our email server is 9 years old...we don't have failover....we don't have adequate backup.
I asked for funds today to purchase services today to have a well known company host our email and replicate it to our onsite server so that it would provide failover, continuity and disaster recovery for our email.

I was shot down....and told no, but we will reconsider if you can make a presentation laying out in detail why you think we need it, but be prepare to be grilled and answer all our questions and we will have lots of questions.

Our president has a "wait till it breaks" philosophy.  I'm open for suggestion on how to successfully deal with a mindset like this....short of leaving and getting another job.
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Question by:rand1964
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by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 37835941
Cost of failure is about the only thing that is convincing.  Although in this case, if the business depends on servers and software that can't be replaced because they are no longer available or supported, you might want to point that out to them.
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by:rand1964
ID: 37835951
That's good advice but this guy is "I'll worry about the cost when it breaks...we'll just get a new one".
I can't get the obvious across that the data gets lost with the dead server....it doesn't come bundled with the new server....
How do I protect myself and my reputation...I can't afford to quit and if something goes wrong it will of course be "my fault".
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getzjd earned 200 total points
ID: 37835953
I am not sure of your environment, but most companies want to see a business case for a project.  You should also build projects such as this into a yearly budget that is submitted to upper managemetn.  Build it and they will come.

Some steps to get started:

1. Compile data - note when the existing servers were purchased, gather statistics on how many emails are sent on a daily baiss,  gather quotes, etc
2. state current situation - be specific, use data gathered in step 1 for support
3. propose solutions.  notice I said solutionS.  Solution 1 should be continue the way we are today.  Solution 2 and solution 3 should be different ways of achieving the same thing.  Provide management with options.  In some cases, 3 options would work.  Provide the absolute best options where money is no object.  Provide a mid level solution (this is likely what you want to aim for).   Provide a basic solution
4.  explain the + and - of all solutions.  financial, technical etc.  use spreadsheets and charts, something easy to understand
5.  make a recommendation

biggest thing though is to establish a yearly budget and at least a 7 year forecast detailing all high dollar projects on the horizon so manamgement can plan accordingly.  This way they are not surprised by a project.
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Assisted Solution

by:getzjd
getzjd earned 200 total points
ID: 37835956
Reference Microsoft lifecycle dates if you really have to. 9 years old.. exchange 2000 or 2003? http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifeselect  cite support cut off, give examples of virus that may hit due to no longer receiving product updates
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Author Comment

by:rand1964
ID: 37835959
I like that answer...that's very good advice...gives be some proper steps to take.

Please don't laugh when I tell you this, but there is no IT budget.  I don't get a budget.  I beg for stuff when stuff breaks.  I'm not kidding....there is no forecast, no budget for IT.
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Author Comment

by:rand1964
ID: 37835968
That Microsoft site is great!  That is just what I was looking for on the software...does Dell have anything like this for servers and hardware?
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Assisted Solution

by:getzjd
getzjd earned 200 total points
ID: 37835976
Then set one up.  It may impress management especially come review time for you.  

 Start gathering info on what you are spending each month on phone bills, internet, maintenance, hardware, software, anything related to IT.  track it for 3 or 4 months on a spreadsheet or however you want and you shoudl have a good idea of a yearly budget for basic needs.  Break it out intothe proper categories.  Examples:  Telephone service, telephone maintenance, Internet service , outside support services, desktop/laptop purchases, server purchases, server maintenance , printer purchases, repairs, toner.. anything you can think of.   Talk to someone in accounting and tell then what you are trying to do.  Heck take them to lunch so they can help provide you with some of this info.

Once you have a basic budget figure in projects.  Set a replacement schedule say 5-6 years on server hardware.    

Use these budget numbers to find ways to reduce your overall operating costs, for example: printer maintenance agreements with toner, maybe voip, and so on.   Again, something that may impress them come review time.  Also looks good on resume when you can say, "reduced yearly IT budget by 20% while maintaining or improving service / satisfaction levels"
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Expert Comment

by:getzjd
ID: 37835985
Dell has an EOL (end of life) schedule for all their equipment.  Best to ask your dell sales rep.  If you do not have one, get setup with one.  They can answer these types of questions.
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Author Comment

by:rand1964
ID: 37836001
Thanks.  We do have a Dell rep, I will ask him tomorrow when I tell him I that the quote he sent me got shot down.
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