4 Steps to Get Organizational Buy-In for Resilience Technology

This article was previously published in Disaster Recovery Journal, May 2024.


Perhaps you’re in charge of safety, business continuity, disaster recovery planning, or even communications at your company. You’re convinced resilience technology could help you manage your function more effectively. However, you’re not quite sure how to go about getting this concept approved and over the goal line.

If any of this sounds familiar, here are four steps to help you secure buy-in from your stakeholders and guide you along the way:

1. Understand the Problem You’re Trying to Solve

If you can’t clearly articulate the problem you’re trying to solve, you’ll likely face resistance in getting your project approved. Remember, the leaders you are trying to get onboard are very busy and have limited time to digest information and make decisions. If your proposal isn’t compelling, it is likely to fall on deaf ears. Be sure it doesn’t come across as a solution looking for a problem.

In my case, we were looking for a way to communicate with our workforce during an emergency. We had a robust and global HR management system, but no way to leverage this centralized system to communicate with all or portions of the organization during an emergency, such as a global pandemic or a natural disaster. Language capabilities were another major hurdle. This left communications squarely with the local teams and created many manual processes to roll up information to ensure our employees received the messages and were safe. Could resilient technologies solve all of these problems? Maybe not, but they certainly could help us be a lot more effective (and faster) than the manual processes we had in place.

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2. Develop the Value Proposition

This is an area where you can work closely with a vendor to lay out the value proposition. Look for areas where you can leverage existing systems or even replace outdated or inefficient systems and processes. Make sure you fully understand how or who is managing these items today and what those processes will look like going forward. Don’t forget to take a hard look at the risks you’re working to mitigate. Business continuity, safety and disaster recovery by definition have risks. Understand these as best you can. This may seem like a lot of work upfront, but will save you time in the long run.

It’s important to broaden your internal network during this step. We found a multitude of redundant systems and processes that had grown because of business acquisitions or that locations had adopted due to urgent needs. The more we rolled the marble through the organization to understand how things worked, the more uses we found for the technology.

3. Do the Math

I can’t emphasis this point enough. You’ll likely be competing for limited resources to fund your project, so putting numbers to the project is critical. Do your best to understand the cost of systems and processes you can potentially modify or eliminate. Attempt to quantify the value of the efficiency which can be created. If your solutions will address business continuity, be sure to calculate the cost of having a site shut down for a day. This will feed into your ROI calculation. Another analysis we completed that made our math come to life was when we calculated our cost per employee. When we subtracted quantifiable costs from the total and divided this by our total workforce, we found the cost per employee was quite low and seemed a lot more digestible. When you show you understand the math, you’ll add credibility to your recommendation.

4. Identify the Decision Makers and Keep Them in the Loop

Nothing is more frustrating than working on your proposal, running the numbers and presenting the project for approval only to learn there are additional stakeholders who have to sign off on the project. Identify the ultimate decisions makers early. In many companies, approval levels are tied to the amount being spent, and most companies have formal approval levels tied to the total expenditure. It’s also good to make sure you are closing the loop with all relevant departments, such as procurement, safety, supply chain, communications, IT, etc. Once you’ve identified the key decision makers, establish a rhythm for concisely communicating where you are on the project to avoid surprises down the road.

These four steps may not eliminate all of the hurdles to getting your project approved, but working each of these diligently should certainly aid in moving your project forward more quickly.

About the Author: Steve Pilotti is the retired senior vice president, human resources at Eaton, where he spent his entire 37-year career. Eaton is an intelligent power management company dedicated to protecting the environment and improving the quality of life for people everywhere.


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