What does the board need to know before investing in new technology

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min read
November 14, 2023
January 18, 2024
Getting the board onboard
In this article

With so much business tech choice available, how can you convince your board you’ve selected the most appropriate system?

Technology has become a vital element for every business. It is at the heart of operations, finance, marketing, sales and HR. It is difficult to think of any part of business that it doesn't touch. With the rise in remote and hybrid working, the need to keep employees in contact through smooth and effective communications has never been so important.

HR tech as an industry has grown rapidly and it continues to boom. In 2021, it was valued at $23 billion dollars and by the end of 2023, it is predicted to be worth more than $63.5 billion. There are thousands of different platforms available, with new entrants coming into the market on a weekly basis. With so much choice, how can you convince your board you’ve selected the most appropriate system, and that it’s worth investing in?

The key questions to you need to know the answers to

One thing that all boards have in common is that they have a lot to discuss and not much time to devote to each issue. They want any proposal that comes in front of them to be clear and concise, something they can understand and assess quickly and easily. 

The key questions they need answered are:

  • Why is a new system needed?
  • How will it benefit the business?
  • Is the proposed system secure?
  • Will it do what it promises?
  • How easy will it be to implement and who needs to be involved in rolling it out?
  • What are the costs involved?
  • What are the risks of not investing?

To write an effective proposal, it’s vital that you put yourself in the board members’ shoes and see the purchase from their perspective. Understanding your audience and what motivates them will be enormously helpful in ensuring you do the best possible job of selling your proposal.

Here is what you need to consider in your answers for each of the key questions.

Why is a new system needed?

The first question you’ll need to have a convincing and compelling answer for is why a new system is needed. What is wrong with the system/method you are using at the moment? Knowing what the drawbacks are and how the process could be improved is vital. This is the first hurdle you’ll need to get over to pique the interest of your board, so these reasons must be clear and easy to understand.

How will it benefit the business?

While saving money or achieving a return on investment are important, monetary benefits are not the only ones you should consider. In the current climate, with many skills in short supply, attracting and retaining top talent and boosting productivity levels are just as important. Do your research and find some data to support your argument.

Is the proposed system secure?

According to government figures, four in ten (39%) UK businesses were the victim of cyber-attacks in 2022. Keeping data safe is a huge concern for senior leaders as security breaches can be enormously costly and immensely damaging to their reputation. Alongside cyber-attacks, ensuring data is protected and used in a compliant way is also hugely important. To reassure your board, find out what security standards your proposed system is working to and include these as part of your pitch to provide all important reassurance around this key area.

Will it do what it promises?

Lots of systems make bold claims, but is there substance behind what they tell you it can do? Senior leaders will want to see examples of how it has been used in a similar way before and what the results have been. Ask your supplier to provide case studies that are relevant to your situation and if they have any clients who would be willing to have a call to answer questions, and provide an honest view. Seeing a system in action, working well, can be enormously persuasive.

How easy will it be to implement?

Most IT departments have a long list of projects to complete and their time is precious. When presenting to the board, be very clear about how much of their time will be required to implement this new system and what any ongoing commitments will be. The average employee already uses dozens of different systems, so the board will want to know how easy any new software will be to use, and how well it can integrate with the existing technology. Ask your supplier to give you as much detail as possible on how it connects to other platforms and what onboarding support they can provide to make the roll-out as stress-free as possible.

What are the costs involved?

However persuasive your arguments might be, cost is always likely to be a factor. Be very clear on how much the cost is. Investigate with your supplier if there are any savings to be had, perhaps through becoming an advocate or by signing a longer deal. Find out the costs of similar systems to put the price into context and show that you have done your homework. This is something senior leaders are likely to ask questions about, so be prepared.

What are the risks of not investing?

If this is a system you believe your organisation needs to remain competitive, then you need to show this clearly to the board. If the main drivers are attracting or retaining employees, building better engagement or raising levels or productivity, demonstrate this. Ask your supplier if they have any tools to help you do this. For example, Appraisd has an ROI calculator that is easy to complete and shows what potential savings could be made through implementing the system. This kind of data can be extremely useful and sum up neatly just why the system is so valuable.

The main thing to remember when trying to sell in a new system is to be prepared. Do your homework, get your facts in order and state your case succinctly. Keep it short, sharp and to the point. Think about the questions or objections they are likely to raise and have your answers ready. Build your proposal around your audience and put their needs and concerns front and centre.

If you are thinking of implementing a new performance management system, like Appraisd, we have developed a pitch deck and business case template which will help you do exactly this. Download these now and get pitching!

Download the pitch deck

Download the business case template

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