How to Build a Bulletproof Business Case for Your New HRIS

Building a business case at the end of a long HRIS evaluation process can be a daunting task. This article will provide a guide for how to build a strong business case and how to make the process manageable

Brett Ungashick
OutSail HRIS Advisor
July 4, 2023
user comparing HRIS systems

Building a business case at the end of a long HRIS evaluation process can be a time-consuming and daunting task. This article will provide a guide for how to build a strong business case and how to make the process manageable by building the case, bit-by-bit, throughout your evaluations.

Establish the current problems and selection criteria

Start your entire process off by defining the biggest challenges with your current state. Anyone that is preparing to buy new HR software should make this the first step in their process. Rather than going to market and letting salespeople tell you what you should be solving for, you should make those definitions clear from the get-go.

When documenting the challenges with your current state, make sure to show how those challenges are felt the executive-level or business-wide. Rather than documenting the frustrations you have with the way your current system's report builder is set-up, instead focus on how the unintuitive report builder is limiting your ability to provide executive dashboards in real-time. If your frustrations are around having to manual enter data into the payroll system, then talk about how this can lead to payroll errors, increased liability and employee dissatisfaction.

Turn those high-level challenges into your selection criteria. Every vendor has its flaws and its shortcomings. The only way to pick the best option is by defining what your biggest needs are and selecting the vendor who can solve those challenges the best. A well-defined selection criteria will be a huge benefit to you as you go through your evaluation process.

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Detail your shortlisting process

The HRIS market is very large and it can be challenging to sift through the vendors to find the right fits. When you are presenting your business case to your executive team, they will want to understand why you decided to deeply evaluate the finalists that you chose.

We always recommend our clients start with a broad list and rule out vendors quickly. Typically, the best ways to rule out vendors without demo-ing them are based on:

  1. Size Match - cut vendors who don't work with companies of your size
  2. Feature Match - eliminate vendors who are missing key modules you need
  3. Market Presence - eliminate vendors who don't have the financial backing, customer base and internal team to continue to drive innovation for you
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Determining the best finalists (and why the rest can be eliminated) is where OutSail's vendor reports and expertise can come in handy

Collaborate with stakeholders and get feedback

When presenting your business case to stakeholders, you'll want to present a united front. The only way to reach a consensus in a process as complex as an HRIS purchase is to collaborate with stakeholders early and often.

It's recommended to ask cross-functional partners for their key criteria in the requirements building phase. Additionally, you'll want to ask your colleagues which meetings they'd like to join.

As your colleagues participate in the evaluation process, you'll want to gather their feedback in real-time. We've helped our clients send out simple scorecards or pulse surveys after demos are completed so they can gather peer input.

Summarize your decision according to key criteria

Once you've seen a deep dive of each of your finalists, we recommend scoring each vendor against your key criteria.

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This graphic can be a great slide for explaining to your executive team why you've come to the conclusions you have. Additionally, it's recommended to make sure you have a few notes for why each vendor received the score that it did.

Anticipate objections, especially around costs

Before going into your business case meeting, talk to other stakeholders who have made similar purchases in the past to get a sense of what objections you can expect to hear.

Once you've heard those objections, try to address those objections throughout your presentation. By bringing them up on your own, you can soften the blow and control how the objections are discussed.

The most important objection you will need to be prepared to answer is around costs. A few important ways to discuss the cost-benefit of a new HRIS include:

  1. Discuss the hard cost savings from moving away from old systems
  2. Discuss the soft cost savings from being more efficient, reducing manual work and having better real-time data
  3. Discuss the negotiations you've done and how much savings you've already created for the business (see our negotiation guide)


The OutSail team has turned this entire process into an easy to use PowerPoint template. Feel free to reach out if you'd like access to it: Contact OutSail

1. What should be the first step in building a business case for a new HRIS?

Start by establishing the current problems with your current HRIS and defining your selection criteria. Focus on challenges felt at the executive or business-wide level and turn them into criteria for selecting a new HRIS.

2. How can I efficiently narrow down HRIS vendors for evaluation?

Begin with a broad list of vendors and quickly rule out options based on size match, feature match, and market presence. Utilize tools like OutSail's vendor reports and expertise to determine the best finalists.

3. How important is stakeholder collaboration in the business case process?

Stakeholder collaboration is crucial for reaching a consensus. Involve cross-functional partners in the evaluation process, gather their feedback in real-time, and summarize decisions according to key criteria to present a united front.

4. How can I anticipate and address objections in my business case presentation?

Anticipate objections, especially regarding costs, by talking to stakeholders who have made similar purchases. Address objections throughout the presentation, discussing cost savings from moving away from old systems, efficiency gains, and negotiation outcomes.

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Meet the Author

Brett Ungashick
OutSail HRIS Advisor
Brett Ungashick, the friendly face behind OutSail, started his career at LinkedIn, selling HR software. This experience sparked an idea, leading him to create OutSail in 2018. Based in Denver, OutSail simplifies the HR software selection process, and Brett's hands-on approach has already helped over 1,000 companies, including SalesLoft, Hudl and DoorDash. He's a go-to guy for all things HR Tech, supporting companies in every industry and across 20+ countries. When he's not demystifying HR tech, you'll find Brett enjoying a round of golf or skiing down Colorado's slopes, always happy to chat about work or play.

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