5 Tips to Convince Your Boss You Need New Software

Mark Canes

You have a problem - your software just isn't cutting it anymore. You know it, everyone on your team knows it, but you just can't seem to convince your boss. There is an easy solution to this problem - find a new software solution, but without management and the ownership team onboard, it will be impossible to move forward. After all, they are the ones who will be signing the check. This means you need to figure out how to convince your boss that the business needs new software. Thankfully, we've put together a a few suggestions on how to help you do this.

  1. Quantify Your Pain
  2. Qualify the Investment
  3. Compare the Investment
  4. Use Employee Buy-In
  5. Get Management Buy-In

1. Quantify Your Pain

Whether you are trying to convince your boss who is the business owner, manager, or an executive, the language of numbers is a part of the solution. Your boss and/or manager already spends a lot of time looking at numbers for reporting and budgeting purposes. Therefore, they will require information on quantifying problems, cost savings and return on investment for any project —especially implementing new software. The best way to do this is to try to quantify the negative aspects of your current system wherever possible. For example, it is one thing to say that a new system will "save you a lot of time". Instead, focus on how much time is wasted on current processes. Perhaps it takes you 3 hours each week to compile important reports. A software system that allows for automated creation and delivery of reports can then save over 150 hours of work a year, for you alone. What about the time spent dealing with inventory errors?  Manually entering orders? The amount of money spent on lost inventory? Try to come up with specific numbers for a variety of processes that software can help improve.

2. Qualify the Investment

An appropriate distribution ERP system may cost tens of thousands of dollars. However, the cost of not getting an appropriate software system can be much greater. What else costs tens of thousands of dollars? Labor.

In many cases, the right system can frequently save a business at least one, if not several, salaries. This does not necessarily mean you need to fire existing employees, but rather that you won't need to hire anyone new for the foreseeable future. And that you can utilize the talents of your existing employees in better ways - instead of paying them to do things like manually enter information in multiple solutions. As a result, the ROI of new software can be very positive.

Consider a company with 2 order entry people who are falling behind due to manual lookups and processes, so the company is considering hiring 2 additional employees. Let's say each new employee costs $35,000 per year. That's $70,000 in annual recurring costs that could be saved by a software system which could make the existing employees far more productive instead. So for example, if the new software costs $60,000, then in just 11 months it's paid for itself, and thereafter the bottom line keeps improving.

3. Compare the Investment

Similar to tip #2, you can make the software expenditure easier to digest by comparing it with any other business investment. In industrial sectors especially, business owners may see software as a necessary evil. Comparing software to a machine, equipment or vehicle purchase that is "for the admin/warehouse/accounting" staff should make the purchase seem more strategic. And remember that the right system will scale with your company well into the future...one of Blue Link's customers just celebrated it's 25 year anniversary using the software! An investment into the right system will continue to be beneficial for years to come.

4. Use Employee Buy-in

Chances are you are not the only one encountering issues with the current system. Like tip #1, quantify the pain of your colleagues as well. The boss may find it easy to ignore a single employee but would likely be persuaded by the knowledge that most of the employees share the same pain. ERP software provides benefits for your entire team - from accounting to warehouse staff to salespeople and management. This makes the investment a lot more worthwhile.

5. Get Management Buy-in

Managers often involve employees in changing processes in order to lessen any push-back. The same tactic may work in reverse as well. Discussing efficiency strategies with management will reduce push-back if they feel the change is their idea. During this process your boss may discover potential personal benefits from new software as well. Better software means more time on the golf course!