Buying Strategies

Making the Business Case for Your Next HRIS

February 15, 2021
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Brett Ungashick
Founder

How to make the business case for your new HRIS: Learn what your IT, Finance and C-Suite cares about, how to speak their language and how to anticipate their objections.

One of the most important steps in the HRIS buying process is getting sign-off from the person who holds the budget.

More and more companies are allocating larger budgets to invest in their employees, but there are still many companies who see HR expenses as a cost center. This can be a large hurdle to overcome, especially for companies who haven't invested in an HRIS before.

In order to get final sign-off on your new HRIS, it's important to have a game plan:

Speak Your Audiences Language

In most scenarios, there will be three stakeholders outside of the HR team that you'll have to consider when purchasing a new HRIS: the C-Suite, the Finance team and the IT team.

The first step in building your business case is understanding what each audience is going to care about:

C-Suite

Cares about: Return on investment. Impact on business growth. Reports and analytics.

Finance

Cares about: Total costs. Payroll processing and tax support. Integrations with accounting systems.

IT Team

Cares about: Information security. Integrations with other systems. IT resources needed to manage system

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Highlight Key Business Outcomes

Now that you understand what each audience cares about, it's time to tailor a message that will resonate with them:

C-Suite

Your message: "This purchase is going to give us a much more holistic understanding of our company and our workforce. Through these insights, we will be more effective at business planning, anticipating employee challenges and retaining key contributors."

Finance

Your message: "While this purchase is going to require an upfront investment, there will be offsetting cost savings that will ultimately impact our bottom line in a positive manner. Some of those cost savings include: running a leaner HR department, less time spent on tedious, manual work and data entry, better employee retention, more precision around payroll / time and benefits and decreased recruitment costs. In addition to being a cost saver, this purchase is going to make your life easier when processing payroll due to the tax filing automations and the integrations with our general ledger."

IT Team

Your message: "The most important thing about this purchase is that it is cloud-based and can be fully managed by the HR team. There will not be any on-premise installation needed and aside from a few integrations, our team will manage the entire set-up and deployment. The HRIS that we have evaluated is happy to meet with you and walk through their product architecture. They've already provided us with security audit certificates from SOC and ISO. They've also spoken about their integration architecture which relies on APIs"

Handle Objections

C-Suite

Potential Objections: "This isn't the right time for us to invest in this." "We have other priorities that are taking precedence." "If we're going to make this investment, how do we know we're buying the right system?"

Your Response: "This implementation can be fully managed by our HR team with minimal disruptions to our current operations. We would like to target a go-live date of [TBD] because we think it is important to be live before [year end taxes, open enrollment, review season, etc.]

Throughout the process, we have worked with an industry expert who helped us identify the best possible vendors for our needs. You can see the report they provided here. Additionally, we defined a clear criteria for success and measured each of the vendors according to this rubric. Our advisor also gave us key insights into the red flags we should investigate with each finalist. We asked the vendors about those shortcomings and our winner was able to minimize those concerns."

Finance

Potential Objections: "This is going to be too costly of a project right now." "I don't want to disrupt the way payroll is running."

Your Response: "This HRIS platform will make running payroll significantly easier. The key inputs that determine an employees pay are: benefits, pay rate and time worked. Having all of those functions in the same system will allow for a more automated and accurate calculation process.

Additionally, the vendor we have selected has a lot of experience integrating with our accounting system, so the payroll data you are used to seeing will continue to look the same.

By combining payroll, time and benefits into one platform, we are going to save countless employee hours. We are also going to have fewer errors and those errors can have real world costs (paying out too much PTO, benefits being paid to termed employees, etc)."

IT Team

Potential Objections: "Are employee's data is very sensitive, how do we know it is secure? Our team is stretched thin and doesn't have time to go through a large implementation."

Your Response: "One of the pre-requisites that we had in this process was finding a secure partner. The vendor we have selected is GDPR compliant and has ISO and SOC compliance certifications. They are a leading platform that works with many companies in our industry.

Additionally, the vendor will be leading us through the implementation process and the system is designed to be configured by end-users like us, not IT professionals. We may need your help when scoping out 1 or 2 integrations, but those can be done at any point in the process, so we will work around your team's bandwidth."

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Create a Closing Plan

Now that you've laid out the case to your stakeholders and handled their objections, the goal is to get the signature you need. Here's how you can secure the deal:

Go To The Negotiation Table

Your other stakeholders might still be on the fence about this purchase, and one thing that can help ease their concerns is coming back to them with a better deal.

Go back to your vendor-of-choice and share the pushback that you're receiving. Also, be very specific about what kind of changes and concessions you need, in order to get the deal across the line.

Read our negotiation guide for more tips: How To Negotiate an HRIS Agreement

Offer an Executive Briefing

Oftentimes your stakeholders will want to see an executive briefing that will help them better understand this new partner they're about to sign-on with.

Work with the vendor and your stakeholders to get a brief meeting on the books. Tell the vendor to hit these key objectives in the meeting:

  • An overview of their company
  • The case for the platform's ROI
  • A preview of the software
  • A look at the executive reports & analytics

Create a Deadline

To create urgency amongst your team, don't be afraid to create a deadline. If you want your system implemented by a certain date (before open enrollment, for Jan 1, or before review season), then create an implementation timeline that can show your stakeholders why a decision is needed soon. Take the date that you want to go-live and work backwards into a decision date.

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Brett Ungashick
Founder
Brett is the founder of OutSail. He spent the early part of his career selling HR software before switching sides and going to work for the people buying the software.

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