3 keys to making a business case for HR technology

onbase_hr_lgWe all know the benefits of technology. But if you’re looking to implement a new solution in your HR department, you need to know how to justify it to decision makers.

This is where HR often fails, said Joe Rotella, CMO for Delphia Consulting, speaking this week at the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) Annual Conference & Exposition.


Because you need to build a business case. And that business case needs to be a persuasive document – a structured proposal for business improvement that functions as a decision package for organizational decision makers.

And, unfortunately, few people have ever been taught how to create one. So let’s take a look at how to do so successfully.

Here are Rotella’s three things you must include when creating any business case:

1. Articulate your return on investment (ROI)

You must be able to explain to decision makers how this technology investment will save them money.

ROI – a term used to describe the financial return on a business policy or initiative that incurs cost – can be measured in a variety of ways:

  • Payback period for the investment
  • A percentage of return on a cash outlay
  • The discounted net present value of free cash flows of the investment

For example, let’s say the monthly cost of a solution you use today is $500. However, the total cost of your solution is a one-time fee of $11,000.

If you divide $11,000/$500, you get 22. So, your solution has a payback period of 22 months.

2. Include the “soft” benefits

Cost justification is only one factor, Rotella explained. You also have to think about the other benefits technology brings.

Benefits like:

3. Remember your audience

If you want your business case to resonate, Rotella suggests the following:

  • Gain executive sponsorship and commitment early
  • Define and commit to a timeline
  • Know your budget
  • Stay focused and organized
  • Be sensitive to risk factors and change management issues

By making sure your presentation focuses on what’s important to the people who will make the decision, you set yourself up for success.

Have you ever written a business case to justify a technology purchase in HR? If so, we’d love to hear your tips and tricks in the comments section below.

Katie Alberti

Katie Alberti

Katie Alberti is the content marketing manager for product marketing at Hyland. She joined the company in 2012 as a content strategist and spent the last few years focusing on marketing OnBase for back office departments. Prior to joining Hyland, Katie was a writer and reporter for nearly 10 years, covering state and local news. She received her bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism from Kent State University as well as her master of arts in teaching, integrated language arts curriculum and instruction.

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