Change is hard, but it’s what propels growth. We tend to be ready to make changes only when we reach a critical point — when the status quo is no longer working.
In business, it’s usually necessary to endure change to improve efficiency and effectiveness. One surefire way to achieve those goals is to up your tech stack game.
What if you, as an individual contributor, can see it’s time for new software but aren’t sure how to present your request to your decision-making colleagues? Adopting software takes patience, time and dedication, and it’s important to be thoughtful about how you approach this conversation.
In this article, we’ll discuss four common questions you could have when bringing up the topic of new software with your boss.
Every business has a different process for effecting change. A lot will depend on the size and structure of your organization. But across the board, a change request will be most effective if you’ve planned it well. Avoid the temptation to have casual conversations about your ideas for new software until you’ve thought through a few key things.
Before you start the conversation with leadership:
Proving the value of new software will be crucial in convincing stakeholders of its significance. That value lies in filling the gap between your business’s current pain points and what’s possible if leadership decides to go with the platform you recommend.
That means you need to analyze existing workflows and systems to figure out where there might be kinks that are decreasing productivity and causing uneven resource utilization. You can speak with individuals and teams about what might solve these challenges. Do they need automation, improved collaboration, better visibility, more accurate data or something else?
When you begin researching particular platforms that could fit the bill, you’ll want to see which ones present practical solutions to the problems you’ve uncovered. Are there specific use cases that match the ways you’ll want to use the platform? Those are examples you’ll need to be able to explain.
You should also keep an eye out for proven results: case studies featuring businesses that are in similar industries, have a similar team size or experienced the exact same challenges.
Once you have clarity around the why behind your request and before you’ve escalated your idea, think about your company persona and goals by exploring the following questions.
The answers to these will reveal the depth and breadth of software you’re ready for and address whether now is the right time.
Next, dive into some basic capabilities of available software in the category you’re seeking. List your must-haves, should-haves and nice-to-haves.
For example, if you and your team think project management software could be the answer, you might know it needs to include task management, project planning and expense tracking at a minimum. But it would be ideal if you could also get automated time tracking and adaptive scheduling. Making a list of these functionalities can help you narrow down the options.
What if we don’t know what kind of software to look for?
If your team needs new tech for multiple areas of the business, it’s best to find out whether a consolidated software exists instead of searching for multiple options in limited categories.
Let’s say your project management team realizes it would be beneficial to smooth out the transition from a sale to a project and from the project to billing — something a typical project management platform can’t do. One kind of solution that can connect all of those stages, plus offer additional features like retainer management and ticketing, is called a client work management platform. Rather than working in many disconnected systems, you can use this type of solution to improve collaboration and visibility, driving productivity, efficiency and profitability.
Learn more about what a true client work management platform can do for your business.
Until you know which features you’re prioritizing and whether you’re looking to step up certain processes, it can be a waste of time to investigate too many platforms in detail. Instead, create a short list with your preliminary recommendations. Keep things high-level at this stage, and don’t take too much time away from your day job to research the specifics of each option. Knowing the outcomes you need is more important than having solidified the exact platform, as that could change once your higher-ups evaluate budget and priorities.
If you’ve shared your thoughts with your larger team and managers and have some initial buy-in, you may have the opportunity to share a deck or formally present to a team of decision-makers. It’s only when you have confirmation that this will happen that you should spend the time gathering details about one or two platforms you want to recommend.
This is the right time to attend a demo and get a few supportive team members involved. You’ll need to gather data that demonstrates the benefits of implementing the new software, learn about the platform’s recommended processes, understand pricing options and forecast the ROI.
Prepare to interact with a sales team and ask the right questions with this guide: What To Expect From a Business Software Demo.
Then, get your presentation ready using our overview of an effective business case.