You have a problem: your software just isn’t cutting it anymore. You know the solution: new software. However, it’s not that simple, because you now need to figure out how to convince your boss that the business needs new software. Here are a few suggestions on how to make that process much easier.
1. Quantify Your Pain
Whether your boss is the business owner, accounting manager, or an executive, the language of numbers is part of the lexicon. This means the boss spends time quantifying problems, cost savings and investment returns for any project — especially software.
For example, it is one thing to say that a new system will “save you a lot of time”. Instead, focus on how much time is wasted on current processes. Perhaps it takes you 3 hours each week to compile important reports. A software system that allows for automated creation and delivery of reports can then save over 150 hours of work a year, for you alone.
2. Qualify the Investment
An appropriate distribution ERP system, for example, may cost tens of thousands of dollars. However, the cost of not getting an appropriate software system can be much greater. What else costs tens of thousands of dollars? Labor.
Appropriate software can frequently save a business at least one, if not several, salaries in many cases. As a result, the ROI can be very rosy indeed. Consider a company with 2 order entry people who are falling behind due to manual lookups and processes, so the company is considering hiring 2 additional employees. Let’s say they cost $25,000 per year each. That’s $50,000 in annual recurring costs that could be saved by a software system which could make the existing employees far more productive instead. So for example if the new software costs $60,000, then in just 14 months it’s paid for itself, and thereafter the bottom line keeps improving.
3. Compare the Investment
Similar to tip #2, you can make the software expenditure easier to digest by comparing it with any other business investment. In industrial sectors especially, business owners may see software as a necessary evil. Comparing software to a machine or vehicle purchase that is “for the admin/warehouse/accounting” staff should make the purchase seem more strategic.
4. Use Employee Buy-in
Chances are you are not the only one encountering issues with the current system. Like tip #1, quantify the pain of your colleagues as well. The boss may find it easy to ignore a single employee, but would likely be persuaded by the knowledge that most of the employees share the same pain.
5. Get Management Buy-in
Managers often involve employees in change processes in order to lessen any push-back. The same tactic may work in reverse as well. Discussing efficiency strategies with management will reduce push-back if they feel the change is their idea. During this process your boss may discover potential personal benefits from new software as well. Better software means more time on the golf course!
Bonus: If money is the biggest barrier, try to find a vendor that is a good fit for your business (first) and that offers flexible payment schedules or means to make the project more digestible. Grants may also be available for technology investments.