It can be frustrating to realise that a new IT project can solve a serious problem and increase your company’s efficiency and profitability, then have funding refused.
Surely they can see that, yes we’re spending money now, but we will be getting an excellent return?
What’s obvious to the IT manager is not always obvious to others … and it is the IT manager’s responsibility to help make the case for this project.
So how do you do this?
1. Make the business case
How will the team or business benefit from this new project?
‘It’s a time-based workflow solution where people will find it easier to ….’ Is not concrete enough.
Try this one: ‘The system will present the sales manager with a form outlining the information the production manager will need; and if the production manager does not approve it within 24 hours, s/he will receive a reminder … This means that it’ complaining customers receive a response within 48 hours, helping us retain them and enhancing our reputations a customer-focused’.
This version is more concrete. People can immediately see how exactly the business will benefit from this new software.
2. Identify and consult the stakeholders
I’m sure you can think of a number of IT projects which added to people’s problems, instead of resolving them. This can easily be avoided by bringing in stakeholders as soon as the idea is born.
Stakeholders often include the FD, Operations Manager, managers in the department where the system will operate … and, most importantly … the people who will be using the system! They have hands-on knowledge of what works, what doesn’t, what is absolutely necessary … these are key insights.
3. Calculate cost and benefits
The budget should include some leeway, and should only be finalised after good discussions with the developers. Make sure you earn a reputation as someone who delivers on time and on budget.
The benefits link very closely to the business case.
- How will this project help the team/company do what they do better or more efficiently?
- How will this save time?
- How does this saved time translate into revenue?
- How does the project help improve profitability?
There are the more obvious benefits, e.g. the sales team can dedicate more time to bringing in new customers.
Also think outside the box, e.g. If the project will increase automation in a team where there is high sick leave or staff turnover because of stress, this increased automation will very possibly help reduce this.
Benefits don’t have to be financial. An improved software solution could mean better security for the business’ data, which is priceless. Or perhaps better oversight of how the company complies with statutory regulation.
It’s worth investing in making a solid case for new projects, to make sure it gets approved. And remember, what’s obvious to you is rarely obvious to others!
So it’s important to spell out the business case to stakeholders, highlighting both costs and benefits … only thus can you help them see what you are seeing!
At Progrex IT Solutions we have vast experience in bespoke software for manufacturing companies. Get in touch to discuss how we can help you.
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