How to Build a Strong Business Case for HR Technology Investments

October 31, 2022

At a glance

  • The main takeaway: Many HR teams face challenges with obtaining buy-in from executive leadership for key technology enhancements.
  • Impact on your business: To successfully gain support for technology investments, it’s essential to build a strong, cost-transparent business case supported by both quantitative and qualitative data.
  • Next steps: Aprio helps provide organizations with technology solutions that take the manual work out of HR, payroll processing and tax compliance to save time.

Schedule a consultation with our team today

The full story:

Over the past decade, the human resources (HR) technology space has experienced an explosion of growth. From platforms that manage talent acquisition to integrated payroll tools, HR teams across industries are able to gather insights and streamline efficiencies more than ever before, adding concrete value to their organizations.

But in light of all this growth, recent studies show that HR teams still struggle with getting buy-in from the C-suite and executive leadership on technology investments. According to Gallagher’s 2020 HR Technology Pulse Survey, respondents cited three roadblocks that stand in the way of tech buy-in:

  1. Leadership doesn’t understand the value of the investment
  2. Past failure with implementing HR and benefits technology tools
  3. The HR team doesn’t feel confident in selling the value of technology to leadership

Your HR team can overcome these types of challenges by learning how to create a strong business case for your technology investments. Here are four helpful strategies you can use in crafting your approach.

1. Develop a well-structured argument

Your business case should provide detailed use cases for how you will maximize the technology tools or platform you’re investing in. The case should specifically cover:

  • Why you need the technology: What challenge will this tool or platform solve from both an HR and organizational perspective?
  • The potential impact of the technology: Explain why the challenge you mentioned above negatively affects the organization. For example, if you currently use a manual payroll process versus an electronic payroll processing system, your business could be missing out on efficiencies or be subject to the risk of human error and potential payroll tax penalties.
  • The short- and long-term benefits of the technology: Here, you can explain in great detail how solving challenges with technology benefits the future of the business. For instance, if your HR professionals are less focused on tedious payroll-specific tasks, they can devote more time to filling critical positions or reducing time to hire for roles that are pivotal to the business’s growth goals. Introduce several different scenarios and even weigh pros and cons to demonstrate that you are looking at the investment from multiple perspectives, further reinforcing the value of the technology.
  • Technology recommendations: Outline your recommendations for various tools and providers backed up with strong due diligence. You should thoroughly explain the specific technology features and capabilities and how they each play a role toward eliminating the challenge your organization faces.

Come prepared with answers to potential questions your leadership and executive team may ask, and provide both quantitative and qualitative research they can use to aid their decision-making process. This final point dovetails with the next consideration to keep in mind.

2. Show how your organization will benefit with hard numbers

Your business case should be well-supported with quantitative data and statistics your leadership and executive team can use to see the true ROI of your investment. Not only will this help leadership justify your investment and their decision, but it will also help reinforce potential savings from both a time and bottom-line perspective.

For example, if you are making the case for a new payroll processing system, your case should be strengthened with solid data illustrating how the tool will help the business save tax interest and penalties on errors/incorrect filings, or avoid unintentional spending caused by accidental human error. You can quantify the benefits in the hours of time your HR team will devote to more strategic, value-add projects, in addition to quantifying the potential revenue gained by renewed attention on those projects.

3. Tie your tech investment back to bottom-line initiatives

This is the area of your business case in which you can explore qualitative benefits of your technology investment in detail. These types of benefits may include improved efficiency, streamlined processes or stronger employee morale.

In this section, you should also make strong points tying your investment back to key strategic initiatives and goals set by the business as a whole. For example, let’s say that you are interested in purchasing a platform devoted to employee onboarding and training, which would eliminate the need for your HR team to conduct in-person or virtual trainings every time a new hire joins the organization. You could tie your investment in that platform back to a larger organizational goal involving professional development or training to improve employees’ skill sets and better serve new customer demographics. You are much more likely to gain buy-in from leadership when the tool or platform can be used to achieve more than just your HR team’s individual initiatives.

4. Be transparent about cost

The sticker shock of a new tool can be jarring and trigger tough conversations. But now is certainly not the time to gloss over potential costs in the hopes of garnering a better response. In your business case, make sure to account for implementation and configuration costs, potential training costs so you can maximize the tool to its fullest capabilities, and support you may require from other business segments (for instance, IT) to ensure successful adoption and implementation. Your business case should capture both initial and ongoing costs so there are no surprises further down the line.

See how Aprio People Advisory Services can support you

Adopting new HR technology can be equal parts exhilarating and nerve-wracking. Aprio People Advisory Services helps provide organizations with technology solutions that take the manual work out of HR, payroll processing and tax compliance to save time.

Schedule a consultation with us today.