This is part 1 of a 2-part blog post. The continuation of this article can now be viewed here.
Get the feeling you need to upgrade or replace the software your team uses to complete important tasks? You know the signs: the applications don’t do everything they’re supposed to, look outdated, crash frequently, or fail to generate the data and reports you need. You may even suspect your current software package creates more work than it eliminates.
When you’re facing those kinds of frustrations it might be obvious to everyone that your software needs to be upgraded. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean your management team is going to see it similarly or that they’ll approve the investment in a new software development project. So, how can you get them to see the light?
The first step is to realize the situation we’re describing isn’t unusual. We have seen it play out again and again over many years of working with custom software development. The people you work for may or may not be aware of the issues you are facing. Even if they are, it may not be enough for them to take action. After all, they have other priorities (like the expense of an upgrade vs. dozens of other bottom-line considerations) that have to be factored. Maybe that’s why so many frontline employees and managers are afraid to even broach the topic of software upgrades and development with business owners and executives.
However, ignoring a problem won’t make it go away, and your odds of getting the tools you need to do your job might be better than you think, provided you follow the right approach. In this article, we’re going to show you exactly how you can persuade management to invest in custom software for your company. Let’s start with making sure you’re speaking the right language.
Explain the Problem in Numbers
Managers and business owners know they can’t afford to invest in everything they would want for themselves, their companies, or their employees. They constantly have to weigh the costs and benefits of each buying decision to see how it might pay off in the long run.
You can help them to come to the right conclusions by attaching specific numbers to the “hidden” expenses associated with using an outdated software package. Perhaps productivity is down, billable hours are being wasted, or sales opportunities are being missed. If so, spell out these considerations – along with firm figures or estimates relating to their cost – so a decision-maker can see exactly how the business is being held back by the old software.
Don’t Ask For Software Upgrades Alone
It’s easy for someone in upper management to dismiss a loan request for an investment into the company, but much harder for them to ignore the issue if it comes from several individuals (or even entire governments). If others on your team or in your company are affected by software that needs to be modernized, get their help in asking for an upgrade.
Not only will the request seem more credible coming from several different people, but your colleagues might be able to offer their perspectives for a software upgrade that you hadn’t already considered.
Make a Plan Full of Details
To a busy executive or business owner, the request to undertake a new software development project can seem like something that will require a great deal of money and time. They’ll have to research vendors, find solutions, and make lots of hard choices along the way. They may have to do all of this while facing several different unknowns.
You can smooth the path to a “yes” by taking some of the legwork (and guesswork) out of the process. Find out exactly what’s involved in creating and implementing an updated application, along with concrete steps and schedules. You could even volunteer to spearhead the project so it doesn’t end up as another item on the manager’s desk.
As mentioned above, next week we will share the final steps in bringing management on board with your software upgrade. Contact us to discuss your needs.