When he presents his technology budget to senior management, Edward Granger-Happ likes to talk about a '57 Chevy.
"I tell them that we have to polish it and take care of it, and [because] it's a '57 Chevy, we're living on borrowed time, especially if we're using it for the daily commute," says Granger-Happ, CTO at Save the Children.
The spiffy car is a metaphor for a legacy system in use at the foundation, and it helps Granger-Happ make several points. First, it puts the old system in a context everyone on the business side understands. Second, it helps him make the argument that systems not only come with maintenance costs but that those costs grow (and take up more of his budget) as the systems age. Third, he can tie maintaining or replacing the "Chevy" to his strategic IT plan, priming the group for a future discussion.
Granger-Happ says his approach to talking about the IT budget usually gets him what he wants at the $US400 million non-profit. His budget for the coming year is $US4.7 million. But he also knows that when the foundation sees fund-raising tighten, as is the case for the coming fiscal year, he knows he won't get major new initiatives funded, and he doesn't ask.
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