Are you struggling with getting leadership to sign off on budget for your Technology or Marketing project? Do you constantly find yourself in situations where you can’t get enough funding for projects? Do you have to keep explaining the value of technology to bosses and other folks in your org? Do you find yourself in battle with other internal departments because of budgetary reasons? And finally, are you worried that your org is not progressing along a good technology pathway and you aren’t able to force a change?

If you answered YES to any of the above, you’re not alone. Your job title may vary but these challenges are common. No matter what angle you take, the solution can possibly be found in two words – business case.

Ultimately, to help management and your peers see the light, you will need to communicate the value of a technology initiative in terms of business outcomes not technology outcomes.

Source: WOW Vectors

Think Strategically

ROI is a good baseline to build upon, but justifying a financial commitment to various participants of a non-profit organization will need more than an ROI calculation. There will be two parts to the strategy – what is the problem, and what is the possible solution to the problem?

Put your strategy hat on and focus on the following questions while trying to work toward presenting successful business outcomes:

  1. How will the technology investment project enable the org to carry out its mission better or faster?
  2. How will the investment or project enable growth?
  3. Will the new technology or project reduce overhead from other areas by simplifying or consolidating systems?

How do you build a Business Case?

To demonstrate the technology/project’s value you will need to create a good business case for upper management’s consideration. Be creative and cognizant of your organization’s style. Here’s an outline to get you started:

  • Problem: State the problem situation in a way that business stakeholders will understand/emphasize with it.
  • Vision: Elevator Speech time – how will your organization be better when your project is implemented?
  • Objectives: Now be specific with real-world objectives that the solution will achieve.
  • Recommendation: Details and description of the technology plan and implementation and why.
  • Alternatives: In your journey to select the above option, show that alternatives were considered. If you feel convinced about your proposed option state why others were eliminated. If not, leave them on the table for upper management to share in the decision-making process.
  • Impact on People, Process, and Technology: The true positive impact that your solution/project will have on your organization, including the minor positives that folks who are peripherally involved may feel. Also stress on any potential process improvements resulting in man-hour savings.
  • Risks and ROI: There is always risk with projects – state the key risks and present mitigation plans and checkpoints for management.
  • Cost: How much is the bill? Short-term (initial) and over the long run (projected).
  • Timing: How quickly can you get this done with the resources available? If management wants a faster implementation or go-to-market timeframe, state how additional resourcing/people can help achieve that.

The benefits of an approach like the above are that it creates focus and helps set the stage for the right questions to be asked. From that point on, it’s a matter of connecting the business-to-implementation dots.

All the best!