Have you ever been frustrated by an Excel spreadsheet, when the formula breaks, and you don’t know where you went wrong? Or have you ever forgotten to follow up with a prospective student, and wish you hadn’t let them disengage with your university? Or spent hours manually typing the names and contact details of your learners, with a niggling feeling in your mind that there must be a better way. We have all been there, be it an HR Administrator of an employer, part of the Student Administration team in a university, or an Apprenticeship Manager of a college.
Every day in every industry we are faced with tasks that are mundane and lead us to believe there must be a better way. Technology has changed our lives in countless ways, and the advances are only increasing day by day. Next time you think “There must be a better way” I challenge you to look for one. Once you find a technological solution that you believe could revolutionise your work activities, then you may have a hurdle ahead.
How do you convince your manager that investing in a technology is something they should do?
Do your research
If you believe there could be technology out there that can save you time and increase your productivity, the likelihood is that there will be a solution. A Google search should highlight the biggest brands in the market, but talk to your colleagues and connections in your industry about their recommendations. A first-hand experience will be able to give you insights into solutions you won’t be able to find online straight away, alongside honest feedback and experiences you can learn from.
Keep a diary of your productivity
Listing your daily tasks and how long they take you will allow you and your manager to see in black and white where productivity could be improved. This will give you the proof that you need to back up why a system could make a real difference to your daily tasks, and overall performance.If you notice massive chunks of your time are being taken up doing lengthy administrative tasks, keep note and write down the ways your time could be better spent. If you can break down your time spent into a cost, this can be used when justifying the financial implications of the solutions.
"Technology has changed our lives in countless ways, and the advances are only increasing day by day"
List the benefits, both big and small
Like keeping track of your productivity, listing the benefits a solution could bring to your role can form part of your pitch. Don’t just think about your sole use, if you can get licences for multiple users as part of the software think about how this could make a difference to your full team. Break the benefits down into yearly objectives, tactical goals and daily milestones, this will clearly demonstrate the wide-reaching impact the solution could have.
One of the most crucial elements to back up your claim is that you have thought about the financial impact the solution will have. Depending on the capabilities, this could be small or large, either way, it is important to take into consideration to present to your manager. Don’t only list prices online if they are displayed, talk to the company, they may offer rates not published or have payment plans available. If you have done your research and listed the benefits and differences the solution will bring to your role, the financial element should hopefully be less of a shock.
"keep note and write down the ways your time could be better spent"
Plan a dedicated meeting
Instead of sending an email or booking in a call, book a face to face meeting, or use your one-to-one time with your manager to pitch to them your solution of choice. Use competitor examples to back up your argument, if you have suspicions (or know) that companies similar to yours are using more advanced solutions. Use everything you have prepared to back up your proposal, research matters and the fact you have put effort into the pitch will show that you are passionate and dedicated to finding a better way of doing things. Pitch to them your preferred solution, alongside a couple of other options you have researched for their consideration.
Show them how the technology works
Many companies will allow you to trial technology for free for a limited time, or you could book a free demo and invite your manager along. Once they can see how the solution works and get a feel for the company you will be working with, it will make it easier for them to make up their minds about whether to invest.
Once you have pitched to your manager, here’s hoping they will take on board your suggestion and invest in technology that could change your work life for the better. If they decide it’s not the right time to invest in a solution, for whatever reason, keep the research you have compiled in case things were to change. Times move fast, and you never know when the next legislation or best practice might come into play, which could put further pressure on your tasks. Bringing technology to their attention may take a little back and forth, but push forward, and remember if you believe there is an easier way, there will be one.