Digital Transformation Solutions: How to Get Funding

Digital transformation solutions create new value opportunities for customers, employees, and shareholders.

They empowers decision making and enable rapid and decisive action. With all the value that digital transformation solutions provide, funding should be an easy sell, right? Wrong. It can seem like an uphill battle. But there’s hope!

The secret to getting buy-in is in aligning the deepest needs of the organization with the benefits that a digital transformation solution provides. Toss out the spreadsheets and think in terms of enablement rather than cost.

Here are 3 common transformation pitfalls on funding and how to avoid them:

Pitfall #1: It’s Not All About the Return on Investment

While smaller funding decisions are based entirely on ROI, an organization-wide digital transformation initiative is not one of those. Get approval for funding by communicating the value of the initiative based on non-ROI factors. Think about the impact the digital solution will have in terms of strategic business imperative.

Here are 3 key areas to focus on:

The Revenue Generating Activities of the Organization

Digital transformation is as much about keeping the lights on as it is about dealing with disruption from non-traditional competitors. Everything the organization does to generate revenue will benefit.

Talk about the impact of transformation on the entire customer journey and the back-office systems that support it. You may even uncover new ways of monetizing existing activities and data.

Customer, Prospect, and Employee Perception

Think about how digital transformation will affect the way your organization is perceived. Pitch the idea of ensuring that customers and prospects will see the organization as more forward-thinking and a better investment.

You’ll gain and retain better talent when employees see that the organization is relevant and growing.

Outpacing Competition

Digital is way more than just newer technology. Digital transformation solutions not only empower your organization to do what it does better, they also help ensure you are focusing on the right things.

The 7 most dangerous words in business: “That’s the way we’ve always done it,” are a sure sign that competition is about to break down the front door. Show how digital solution will ensure your competitive edge is razor sharp. This one is so important that, if done correctly, you’ll avoid several funding pitfalls.

Pitfall #2: Digital Transformation Solutions Are Not a Project

Digital transformation is more journey than project. What you need to sell is the idea of a continuous effort – a movement along a path of increased operational effectiveness.

Show how digital transformation solutions will help fuel the organization’s innovation and core competencies. Convey the idea that the solution isn’t a thing, rather it’s a way of doing business.

Spend time with end users and managers to uncover the deeper impact digital transformation will have on the work they perform. Weave your discoveries into the story of the transformation journey you are telling. The goal isn’t to become a master storyteller, but to clearly convey the deeper benefits the organization will receive.

The journey to implement new solutions should line up with the organization’s core mission. Your goal is to show a journey that enables significant and progressive growth.

Pitfall #3: It’s All About the Benefits

The goal of any digital transformation solution is business enablement. Don’t focus on features and technical details when making a pitch for funding.

Instead of talking about data analytics, business intelligence, and transforming IT systems, talk about the benefits.

BIG TIP: Benefits sell. So focus on supporting your organization’s core mission and solving its deepest needs.

One helpful exercise is to ask yourself “So what?” Here’s how it goes. Write down a core feature of a digital transformation solution and then ask yourself “So what?” Your answer is a benefit that just might get a lot of attention.

Here’s an Example of Showing Benefits:

Let’s do a simple exercise. A core feature (not benefit) of digital transformation is business intelligence. “So what?” Well, let’s say you work for a mortgage company and your mission is to provide clients with the best possible advice and mortgage financing solutions.

One benefit of business intelligence is drastically improved real-time decision making. Other benefits could include:

  • Increasing profitability
  • Controlling risk more accurately
  • Delivering a more delightful customer service experience

Help decision makers who hold the purse strings see that the digital transformation solution is all about achieving results by empowering rapid and decisive action.

Two Bonus Tips: How to Get Funding for Your Digital Transformation Solutions

1. Choose a technology partner who’s in alignment with your culture and your pace of change.

You’ll feel confident, knowing that you are implementing the right solutions for the right reasons and at the right time. We’re big believers that the “think big, start small, move fast” approach is the perfect way to get started.

2. You’ll want to consult with the chosen vendor’s business analyst (BA).

Digital transformation solutions almost always have a BA or team of analysts on staff to work through process discovery and design as part of the implementation services.

In fact, the earlier you engage a BA, the greater likelihood of success with your transformation effort. Your BA will help steer the project towards success by ensuring critical business objectives are in alignment with the digital transformation solution. Change is a huge part of success.

This blog originally appeared on BIS.