Whether or not you think your technology at work is behind the times — it is most likely lacking in some capacity. IT advancements are fast-moving, so it’s a good idea to keep the tech trends that have the potential to change your workplace on hand.
If management isn’t aware of available tech solutions, problems will continue to run rampant in the office. Instead of letting issues pile up, broach the subject of an IT upgrade to upper management. These upgrades may include:
- Add-on tools
- Cloud-based solutions
- Connection and network speed optimization;
- Enhanced security
- Entirely new software
- Equipment upgrades
Underneath each of these umbrella categories, there are varying options for how to go about the upgrade. Ultimately, it depends on your needs as a company. Identifying those needs will be crucial when pitching this IT upgrade to your company’s authority figures. Often, management will have some pushback if:
- It’s an older, established organization
- The idea didn’t originate in their office
- The organization has a top-down hierarchy and utilizes horizontal communication rarely
Just remember that it’s normal for organizations to be resistant to change. Even so, you shouldn’t give up. This resistance could mean your workplace needs these tech updates the most.
1. Identify areas of opportunity
If you are considering pitching an IT update to the higher-ups in your workplace, then you’re most likely aware of a gap in technological efficiency. In any case, operations may not be running as smoothly as they could be, and a workaround with tech could be the answer. It’s important to take inventory of processes within your organization, even if they don’t involve technology at this point.
If there are gaps in productivity, lapses in communication across departments, or inefficient cogs in the wheel, you may need to add automation software or another form of technology to solve the problem. Sometimes, however, operations may be thwarted from functioning optimally due to insufficient hardware or software. This could be slowing things down enough to warrant a major overhaul.
If you work in IT, the general need for updates to software and hardware will likely be easy to spot. However, it gets a little more daunting when you are tasked with looking at the entire company’s workflow — including internal and external processes. The good news is that there are tools for network discovery, allowing a bird’s-eye view of all the tech involved in a company’s infrastructure. This can make room for improvement easier to spot.
2. Illustrate clear outcomes
For management to consider a tech upgrade, they will have to be crystal clear about what it will do for the company as a whole. There are many avenues you may take here, and a variety of outcomes that different tech can provide. However, the more specific you can be when pitching the upgrade, the better.
Consider how the proposed tech upgrade could improve the company’s efforts in:
- Accessibility — inclusive tech that holds the potential to change the future of jobs
- Digital sustainability — being aware of the environmental impact of work tech
- Productivity — optimizing the output using streamlined or automated tech
- Thought-leadership — establishing your company as a forward-thinking leader within the field
Upper management is typically interested in the reputation of the company within the eye of the public. Use this to your advantage when pitching an update. Sometimes, companies will value employee satisfaction and morale enough to make drastic changes. However, humans are motivated to change their behavior by having a clear sense of the outcome of said behavior.
3. Use supporting data
Visuals — or at least tangible data — will only bolster your claims of possible, positive outcomes. Supporting data for a tech upgrade may include:
- Competitor research
- Historical data
- Projected growth figures
- Similar case studies
This can be as detailed or as simple as necessary. Gauge what has worked when pitching projects in the past. Again, keep in mind how the company may improve its public perception and weave that into the data-supported pitch.
4. Build a comprehensive plan
Humans also like a clear-cut to-do list when faced with a task. If the proposed upgrade will involve several subtasks, it’s especially worth it to outline these steps accordingly. Upper management is usually swamped with tasks in their pipeline, so keeping this as simple and short as possible is in your best interest.
Imperative pieces of a tech-proposal plan should include:
- A Budget — including different payment plans offered from software, ongoing costs, and ROI after implementation
- The Intended impact — which should be outlined with different outcomes and supporting data
- Key objectives — with clear KPIs and value propositions
- Phases — with clear activities and goals within each phase, such as onboarding employees to new software
- Roles — with clear expectations of certain team members
- A Timeline — including start and end dates for implementation
It may be tempting to keep some of the steps vague because after all, you can’t predict the future. However, when pitching your tech update plan, you’ll have to predict the future as accurately as possible. This will allow your boss to picture the tech upgrade easily — whether or not the steps are followed to a tee upon implementation.
5. Discuss security
The proposed tech update may be entirely security-focused. If not, security is still a major consideration that must be made. Typically, IT updates come with added security which may be appealing to management. After all, cybersecurity can make the difference between staying afloat and being crushed under a costly data breach, especially if you work within a small business.
All sizes of organizations need a secure system, and identifying the implementation steps is extremely valuable to management. For instance, you may explain to the CEO of your large corporation that patch management can sweep all of your existing tech for updates and implement them simultaneously. Emphasize the importance of keeping every pathway secure. Otherwise, one slipup could cost the company.
6. Test run the pitch
When you have solidified a tech-upgrade proposal that feels good to you and your IT team, it may be worth it to run it by some unbiased ears. You may even want to create a feedback funnel, and ask participants to judge your proposal based on:
- Concrete and concise ideas
- Coherent and consistent points
- Competitive objectives
- Compliance and completeness
When you’re deep in the weeds, you may only see the positive aspects of why this tech upgrade would work for your company. However, a fresh set of eyes — or a dozen — can point out places in which you aren’t making these benefits crystal clear. If you want management to take this tech upgrade seriously, practice makes perfect.
Test run your pitch with colleagues. If there is sensitive information, make sure to camouflage that during any external pitches. Most importantly, stay confident. You know that this tech upgrade is crucial to the performance of your company as a whole. Now show that to management and start the ball rolling to smoother operations and increased productivity.