How to Make the Business Case for Digital Transformation Projects

All digital transformation projects have one thing in common: They need funding and support.

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Kurt Schmidt
July 21, 2022

When it comes to digital transformation projects, there are countless ways to make a difference in your organization. Maybe you have a great idea for a new digital product. Or perhaps you’ve identified a problem that could be solved with a digital tool. Regardless of what you’re working on, all digital transformation projects have one thing in common: They need funding and support.

If you’re just starting a digital transformation project or struggling to get funding for a project, here are a few ways to convince the powers-that-be to give you the funding and support you need.

Get people familiar with the concept of digital transformation 

Start off by showing your stakeholders what digital transformation can do for organizations like yours. Forward them articles about digital success stories. Drop some digital transformation stats at lunch. Mention a competitor’s transformation initiatives. Extra points if you can find positive case studies from your own company. (Note: Be sure not to spam them with too much info, though.) 

Rally the troops 

Before you ask for funding and support, try to enroll your colleagues in your cause. Seek out people in a variety of roles and ask for their opinions about your idea. Their insights could make your case stronger or identify risks you didn’t see before. With any luck, your colleagues will become champions for your project. When people throughout the organization support your idea, leaders are much more likely to give you the green light. 

Create a compelling story (and personalize it for each person) 

You know this project is important. So, tell people why. Start by succinctly summarizing the project and its potential benefits to the company. If there are known risks, be ready to address them. 

Then, personalize your message to the audience. Talking to finance people? Talk about data and the bottom line. Ops folks? Focus on productivity. HR? It’s about employee satisfaction. CEO? Tie this project to a key strategic initiative (or the CEO’s favorite pet project). Personalizing the pitch makes it more meaningful for the listener and helps you see your initiative from their perspective. 

When possible, have these conversations in-person or via video, instead of sending an email. That way you’ll be able to address each stakeholder’s questions and concerns immediately. As an added bonus, you’ll likely get information that makes your digital transformation pitch more successful. 

Put some numbers together

Somehow numbers seem to make project pitches feel more tangible. At this stage, the numbers can be estimates or ballpark ranges. The point isn’t to be accurate, it’s to help your stakeholders feel confident about choosing your project over other worthy projects. 

So, see if you can find some quantifiable numbers to answer questions like: 

  • What is the existing situation is costing the organization in time, money, and effort? 
  • How much will the finished project help the organization’s bottom line (either saving money or creating revenue)? 
  • How do users rate the existing experience? 
  • What’s the estimated cost to create the product? 
  • How long will this project take? How many resources will you need? 

Offer to start small

If you’re having trouble convincing leaders to make a big investment in digital transformation, there’s no shame in starting small. You could ask for a budget for user research or building a prototype. You could also get funding for a small pilot project as a proof-of-concept. With those projects under your belt, you’ll have an even better story to sell. Sometimes those small projects prove why your original idea is awesome. And, sometimes you learn that there’s something even better you could do. Either way, you have experience and data for your next pitch. 

Need help convincing your leaders to invest in digital transformation? Foundry can help. 

Our strategists provide several services that can help you make the case for digital transformation projects. Contact us to learn more.