SmartRecruiters Blog

5 Steps to Making the Best Business Case for Your New ATS

Face it — when you ask for money for a new technology you need, you’re competing with others in your company equally passionate about their need.

Don’t take it personally. That’s just business. To get funding, you’ve got to make an excellent business case.

After all, in addition to competing with other projects, you need to overcome objections common to all funding requests — the perception of the real cost of making a change, and bias that it may not be worth the investment.

How do you make the best business case for a new Applicant Tracking System (ATS)? That’s a topic we covered in a webinar, “How to Build a Business Case to Replace your Old ATS,” which presents five key steps to success.

That webinar, which I co-hosted with Tony Lopez, Head of Talent at Illumio, makes it clear that one concept trumps all – money.

Shocking, I know! But if your business case doesn’t center around either saving money or making money, you won’t get very far. Making your case based on concepts like recruiters hate your current system? Forget it. That’s a non-starter. So follow these five steps:

1) Identify business objectives

Let’s be clear. Business objectives are problems you’re trying solve, not features you want. Sure, you may want access to efficient tools for uploading resumes, but that’s not a business goal. Eliminating duplication of data entry to save money? Now that’s a business goal.

Link problems to objectives in a way that resonates with key stakeholders (IT, finance, hiring managers, etc.) to get the attention of C-Suite execs. In Illumio’s case, for example, the business objectives focused on eliminating duplication of effort and making sure data was accurate.

2) Show how current technology prevents meeting objectives

Make it abundantly clear why you need to replace your current system. Otherwise, you’ll likely be stuck with what you have.

Tony explained that his business case showed how current systems would not keep up with future needs. System integrations would become far more expensive and less effective at creating a candidate experience to allow Illumio to attract great talent to drive business success.

3) Identify factors in making a switch

Think about all the stakeholders that you need to address. Remember, recruiting is service delivery — to recruiters, internal team members, and candidates. Every issue you need to address will impact a combination of these stakeholders.

Put yourself in the shoes of each stakeholder. Think like a salesperson so you can identify the impact of your proposal regarding daily life. Demonstrate how happy candidates, happy hiring managers, and happy recruiters will deliver more value at less cost.

4) Identify system requirements

Next, map requirements to stakeholder needs. Show how you are delivering solutions for each of these groups and what core functionality is essential to these solutions.

As Tony explained in our webinar, you must demonstrate impact to bottom line profits and the top line goals. His advice? Be very specific. Less is more. Focus squarely on key requirements to keep your business case simple and easy to understand.

5) Demonstrate ROI

Finally, calculate potential ROI for your business case. Depending on what problems you are solving, ROI could be cost savings, increased revenue, a total cost of ownership (reflecting training and upgrades), or a mix of all three.

For example, legacy ATS users often find that system upgrades grow increasingly expensive and require new training at excessively higher costs. It also makes sense to use third-party data to validate your ROI expectations whenever you can.

So there you have it – a five step process for making the best business case for a new ATS. Tony and I covered a lot more in our webinar, so be sure to watch it for more examples of how we’ve both used this proven approach.

Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson is the Chief Sales Officer for SmartRecruiters.

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