Your job is all about getting it right. Everything that your people steadily rely on is in your team’s hands. Accurate, timely payroll, vacation scheduling, coordination of benefits, union agreements, and more. But what if your software solution is holding your team back? And, even worse, what if your boss thinks your payroll solution is sufficient and doesn’t want to change it? If you want to improve the way you run your people management department, it’s time for you to make a case for change.
The best way to make change happen is to provide evidence that change is overdue. This will require a little footwork on your behalf, but the benefits far outweigh the effort. Always keep your end goal in mind when gathering your facts, and remember the reason why you’re doing this – to save yourself from every mind-numbing inefficiency you encounter on a day-to-day basis. You know there’s a better way. Go get it.
Here’s how to build your case
If you’re dreaming of new software for improved productivity and reduced redundancies in your processes, the following steps will help you make the case to the key decision-makers in your organization.
1. Demonstrate the need for new software
If you’ve got a running list of all the pain points you’re currently experiencing, now is the time to demonstrate how new software will address your tech woes.
When building your business case, discuss the big picture benefits a new solution will deliver. To get your point across, you should show how the software will support business goals and what kind of return on investment your company can expect (increased productivity, a reduction in errors and redundant tasks, streamlined processes, etc).
You’ll also want to show how your options can scale with your organization through the good times and bad.
2. Do your research, get quotes
By now you have probably narrowed down a few of your top choices and created a list of providers you’d be interested in working with. Before taking this list to any key decision-makers, take some time to speak to your top 3–5 vendors. Most offer short demos and can give you a quote based on your product needs and the size of your company.
A Vendor Who's Prepared vs Buyer Beware
Look for a vendor that really puts in the effort for you as the project champion and will build out a demo environment that feels like home.
If your prospective vendor cuts corners in the demo and doesn't speak to the issues you're looking to solve, this could be a cautionary tale for the implementation experience. You're not putting in all this time and effort just to suffer through a bad payroll implementation.
Be sure to tell your prospective vendors you need a quote that breaks down what your company will need to pay for. You’ll want to know ahead of time if there are extra costs for project management, implementation, software training, upgrades, additional modules, etc.
3. Get technical
This is where you might want to ask your IT department a few questions before going further. To give stakeholders an accurate overview of where you’re at technically, you’ll need to provide information on whether the new software options can run with the company’s current hardware or if upgrades will be required. It's also important to understand your organization's device and security policies, especially if you're looking at a system that empowers your workforce through self-service options and mobile applications.
Make sure any required upgrades are included in your budgetary considerations.
4. Don’t oversell the solution
It’s likely that you won’t find one solution that addresses all of your issues, and it’s important to keep that reality in mind. Your presentation should address all of your issues, introduce potential roadblocks with new software, and share your plan for how to overcome them. Effectively setting expectations with your stakeholders and buying committee is a skill that will serve you well now and when you eventually implement that new payroll system.
5. Paint a picture with your presentation
A great way to look at your presentation planning is to show progress. Start with where you are now, move on to the alternatives, and what moving forward can look like for the entire organization. Keep your language concise, but explanatory enough that your presentation can be shared with other stakeholders.
Focus on budget – the cost to implement and train and what the benefits are. Give examples of where you see the new software taking you, for example, a 40% reduction in correcting manual errors or an annual savings of $20K in service fees.
6. Be prepared for questions and opposition
Before you present, take time to consider the purchase from the perspective of different roles within your organization. Create your own list of pros and cons, and have solutions in mind to address concerns. You’ll most certainly run up against questions about cost and ROI, training and implementation timelines, and perhaps, even opposition from stakeholders who believe the current software is fine.
7. Schedule a demo with the vendor
If you’ve done a good job of convincing the powers that be, your boss may be ready to meet with your recommended provider and see a demo. At this point, you should collaborate with your top choice and share your organization’s concerns and questions. By addressing these ahead of time, your prospective provider can address issues specifically and save your team some time.
Is that a yes or a no?
Now that you’ve made your case, this purchase decision is a team sport and the rest is up to the key decision-makers. Your organization may not have the budget for new payroll software, or if it’s a busy time, they may want to wait. We know that the waiting is the hardest part when you want to make a change. And even when you’ve presented the best business case possible, your request might still be denied. If your organization says “no” don’t be discouraged, at Avanti, we’ve worked with companies years after they’d initially passed on new software. It’s all about timing. Keep your presentation on hand, update as you need to, and make the case again when the timing is better.
And if your company gives you the green light, pat yourself on the back and let your team know that their frustrations will soon be addressed. Nice work.