Technology improves our jobs in fantastic ways each and every day. Can you imagine your workplace without the ability to make a conference call, log in to your accounting software, or edit documents in the blink of an eye? At some point each of these technologies was brand new and someone had to persuade a CEO to try it out.
Is there a fantastic new device or program that would make your job easier or faster? How do you get the CEO on board? Try these suggestions.
Focus on the business, not the technology
This entire interaction from beginning to end — organizing your thoughts, doing research, crafting the presentation and speaking with your CEO — has to be focused on what it will do for your company, not the new technology you want.
“Do not waste the CEO’s time trying to educate them through feature dumping. Instead, position the solution in the context of how this will improve their current and future environment,” suggests Mark Stelzner, principal at Inflexion Advisors, an HR tech consulting firm. Stelzner adds that “a successful case positions technology as the means and never the end.”
Demonstrate the flaws of the current system
Once you’re in the company-focused mindset, now you need to prove a need.
A CEO’s biggest responsibility is making sure the team is equipped and empowered to do their jobs efficiently, says Natalie Noel, founder of Technology Advocate Group, a strategic consulting firm specializing in business tech. Noel says that efficiency is key to company profits and employee morale, so it’s imperative to regularly evaluate your current tech.
If your system is flawed and it’s affecting your work, document that. Specifics will help your CEO see the scope of the problem and how it will eventually stifle growth. Noel explains, “Technology for businesses changes at a rapid pace and if a company doesn’t keep up, they are sure to fall behind their competition. The technology systems that enable your growth to 1 million in revenue will not be the same ones that enable you to grow to 10 million and beyond.”
Show a clear return on investment
Your CEO cares about the bottom line, and to present this effectively, you need to think like a CEO. What type of return will the company get for this investment?
According to Steve Boese, co-chair of the HR Technology Conference, there are two factors to consider: hard costs and soft costs. Hard costs are direct savings that the new equipment or software will enable over time. Boese says, “These could be reduction in amount of staff needed to process transactions, or the ability to retire existing hardware or software investments that will be replaced with newer and less costly solutions.”
The soft costs are the added intangibles: increased productivity, efficiency, morale and, most importantly, an increase in time spent on revenue-generating work. Boese says the C-suite is usually looking for the hard costs and soft costs to be at least 50/50, skewing more in favor of hard costs. When making your case for new tech, Boese added, the ROI estimates don’t have to be enormous. They do, however, need to be credible.