Technology negotiations are different from other business deals and this has not changed much in spite of the increased digital literacy of our business colleagues. As Lawrence Susskind wrote in a 2006 Harvard Business Review article, four problems routinely crop up in digital technology negotiations that are not as likely to arise in negotiations that are less digitally complex:
- The complexity of the other systems that the negotiated product must fit.
- The uncertainty of how the product will perform in a particular business environment.
- The egos of the system advocates who feel they have a vested interest in the outcomes.
- The organizational change involved for the various affected departments.
And one more, based on my experience as a CIO and project manager for many years:
- The difficulty acquiring intelligence on what is the right price. Software vendors generally give deep discounts; sometimes approaching 95% of list and without deep digital technology relationships you may leave some on the table.
Consider that as a digital technology leader you possess the knowledge needed to navigate the complexities of the digital landscape. Also consider that if you have earned the trust needed to be an advisor, you can fill the role of consiglieri to the technology advocates before during and after the negotiations to mitigate the uncertainty, ego and organizational change complications and get what is best for the organization.