If you’re a Chief Information Officer or a line manager in your business, you’ll probably know when your manual business processes and legacy business systems are standing in the way of your organisation’s growth, agility, and efficiency.
However, in an uncertain economic climate, you’ll need to carefully justify to the board and the C-suite why it is necessary to replace an old Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution with a modern Business Management Solution.
You’ll need to show how the risks of a big system implementation can be managed, why it’s imperative to modernise business systems, and how you will achieve a return on investment. The good news is that most C-suite executives welcome proactive and well thought-through proposals to improve the business.
Here are a few guidelines about how to approach senior executives and get their buy in for a new business solution:
Start with the bottom-line
Most top executives think about the long-term and take a macro view on the business. Talk to them about how a new system will align with strategic business objectives, such as reducing costs, increasing productivity or improving revenues. Also demonstrate how a high-quality platform could help them in their jobs – for example, by giving more accurate and timely reports and forecasts.
Make use of industry research shows how business management solutions can deliver great ROI for your organisation. For example, The Total Economic Impact of Sage X3, a study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Sage, found that a composite of organisations using Sage X3 achieved a 177% ROI, $1.7M from cost savings over three years and an expected payback period of only five months.
Sticking with the macro perspective, risk is always at the top of the agenda for the senior decision-makers in the business. They’ll want to know that you’ve done your homework about the risks of a large systems implementation, from possible disruption of daily operations to costly project overruns or concerns about change management.
Remember to outline how your project plan will address the risks and also to speak about how a robust business management solution will help the business to address risks and compliance challenges more effectively. With better access to real-time data, business management solutions improve reporting capacities, which makes regulatory compliance easier.
Be ready to answer questions about your resource requirements
Your business leaders will ask about what kind of resources will be necessary to implement the new system, so be ready with examples. While it does take time and money to implement a new business management solution, demonstrate how the platform will achieve return on investment and outline the benefits it will deliver. You could also talk about the business risks of staying on older technology, such as the possibility of the vendor ending support for your software or a lack of real-time visibility into business data.
Have a presentation
Decision-makers are usually short on time. Rather than raising it in a general meeting or in a corridor chat, try to book a slot in their diaries and arrive with a short presentation that makes your case. Put together a deck with visuals that demonstrate the positive impact the business management solution will have on the organisation. Keep the presentation short and snappy, and back up your claims with facts and figures.
As the global market leader of integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems, Sage has become an indispensable business partner to many companies looking to reinvent and simplify their business processes. In our experience, buy-in from senior management is one of the most critical success factors in any large-scale technology project.
The author – Keith Fenner, is Vice President, Sage X3 International