How to get management buy-in for a new technology idea

How to get management buy-in for a new technology idea

You’ve had a lightbulb moment and come up with a brilliant new app idea that combines productivity and messaging. Having a great idea is one thing, selling it to management is quite another.

If your company sells many different products your idea already faces a competitive disadvantage, but that shouldn't deter you. The mobile app market is growing exponentially and your idea could potentially earn your company a windfall.

Currently, 46% of app downloaders have reported paying for a product. In 2014 alone, Mobile App Usage grew by a staggering 76%, with Shopping, Utility, Productivity and Messaging apps leading the charge. By 2017, the app market will be a $77 billion industry.

So how can you convince your stakeholders to get onboard? Follow these steps to help your proposition stand out from the crowd.


You need to understand the core purpose of the app and the value you want it to bring.  While this may seem obvious, many people don’t support their business case with the adequate background research. In addition to knowing the apps basic function and value, you also need to have an idea of who’ll likely be downloading the product and what gap in the market it’s filling. Profile current industry trends, benchmarks and your prospective competitors. This will take your pitch beyond the basic “I’ve had a cool idea for a hybridised productivity and messenger app” to “Based on the current usage of messenger and productivity apps among 20-30 somethings, I think we have a value opportunity to generate revenue by producing an app that hybridises these two functions”.

Cost Analysis

Secondly you need to outline the potential costs to the business. These fall under three categories: Developmental, Operating and Return on Investment (ROI).

Development Costs: There are three cost factors that come into play at the development stage: staffing, testing and integration with current systems.
  • Staffing: In regards to staffing you’ll need to look into whether it’s more cost effective to build your project in-house or externally. Plot out the project from start to finish and calculate the man-hours and respective payouts for both.  Will your project require the input of specialists? Do you have these in place within your team or will you need to look abroad? Come up with a course of action that makes sense for your project.

  • Testing: Too often testing is overlooked as a luxury in the development stage, despite the somewhat obvious fact that user experience is crucial for adoption. Your product’s first impression can either make or break it, and a quality product will yield significant ROI.

    NOTE: We recommend allocating 50% of your overall budget to Q&A and testing so you can deliver relevancy and a  great user experience.

  • Integration: You’ll also need to make sure that your project can integrate with your existing software infrastructure. Explore whether consultation with external specialists is required and if so, document the costs. Make sure you also leave enough time to successfully integrate with your existing products;  take it from us you don’t want to leave it to launch.

Operating Costs: You’ll also need to document the operating costs associated with your product, some of which may include:

  • Licensing fees

  • Patent applications

  • Cloud services

  • Mobile data usage

  • Corporate Wi-Fi coverage and usage

  • Support and training for staff

Build your ROI Model: The 3rd step is to calculate your ROI. Illustrate the benefits and savings AGAINST the costs (and as we’ve hopefully demonstrated there will definitely be costs!).

You’ll need to illustrate this with actual metrics. When you’re mapping out potential benefits and metrics refer to the 3 ‘E’s below and ask yourself which is applicable.

  • Efficiency

  • Effectiveness

  • Error Reduction

For example, the value of a productivity app would be to improve efficiency, so you could measure the time currently taken on tasks against the potential time saved via your app. The value of a messenger app would be to ensure effective communication, so you could also compare phone costs pre-launch and forecast potential savings.

Use Appropriate Language

Finally, when presenting you should tailor your language to the executive you’re presenting too. Each executive is tuned to pick up on different words. A CFO’s interests is going to be vastly different to your CMO’s afterall. A CFO will look at costs and profit, whereas a CMO will be concerned with how the product will be commercialised. Ask yourself, what are our industry’s buzzwords? Look at your internal networks and take note of repeated phrases and keywords (organisational goals are a great place to start) . Refer to these within your presentation.

This way you’re showing that your app is aligned with your company’s overall organisational goals; a strategy that is bound to get your executives’ attention.

CeBIT Australia How to launch a start-up