New technology can be a complete game-changer when it comes to how you run your organization and roll out projects. Unfortunately, especially with tech that’s unproven, even a solid business case can get significant push-back from executives who are resistant to change until they get hefty proof of ROI. The problem with waiting until the new becomes mainstream is that you lose the competitive advantage that new technology brings, and the innovators have already shifted onto the next new technology.
The only way to solve this is by building such a strong business case for new technology that the powers-that-be will find change irresistible. While building a case for a project or bringing in new personnel is reasonably standard for project managers, here’s what you need to consider when it’s technology that’s needed to take your processes up a notch.
Figure out your structure
SHRM’s CMO, Joe Rotella, defines a business case as “a structured proposal for business improvement that functions as a decision package for organizational decision-makers”. That is, you’re presenting relevant stakeholders with a set of decisions to make, and the information they need to help them make them. Always bear in mind when building a business case for new technology that its structure should be built towards taking a decision at the end.
Identify your needs
Lots of new technology is useful and effective, just not always for your organization or specific project. In presenting your business case, identify and expand on the pain points that the organization suffers. For example, if you’re involved in a remote team and need a way of updating and sharing information without falling into spreadsheet chaos, then a centralized project management platform like Clarizen is the ideal solution.
Focus on the benefits
Once the decision makers know what problems are being faced, the next step is showing them how the new technology you are advocating will solve it. Whether it’s cloud-based extra capacity, the clarity given by a single source of truth or the speed of a high-powered business analytics platform, be clear about what the technology will bring to the table.
Translate advantages into real-life situations
While percentage increases in productivity or number of labor-hours saved can make for effective headlines when building a business case, supplementing this with an actual case narration helps to give stakeholders a clear idea of benefits. For example, along with stating how a mailing platform would reduce input times by 25%, state that 20 hours a week would be saved across two employees, which would enable you to either cut costs or finish your current project earlier. Making it a decision between two positives will enhance the image of your proposal.
Honestly estimate return on investment (ROI)
It can be tempting to paint your new technology as a panacea for all of your organization’s ills just to get it over the line. This might work once or twice but in the long run, being known for giving an honest and frank assessment about the ROI the company will achieve will make you more likely to be believed in the future. It will also reduce the pressure to make the new technology succeed or do more than it’s capable of.
Create implementation plan
All new technology requires an implementation plan and thoughts of the disruption or cost of this implementation can drive stakeholder resistance. By laying out a clear plan in your business case, you can remove the fear of the unknown and make the decision clearer.
When building a business case for any new tech, it helps if stakeholders can get a clear idea of what exactly it does and be guided through the process of using it. That’s why our onboarding team works with your business to introduce all of our features and facilitate engagement, all as part of our free trial.