Developing a business case for rebate management software
The remote way of working due to the pandemic has made it more difficult than ever before for rebate professionals to justify the continued use of spreadsheets and dispersed documentation. Today's rebate professionals need to be working with consistent, reliable numbers and with seamless processes, so they can obtain profitable growth. Rebate management software delivers these benefits, giving organizations consistent and increased visibility of their data and supports internal and external collaboration.
If you’re tired of the manual way of doing things and are looking for your organization to adopt a rebate management tool but know that some decision-makers might be on the fence, develop a business case for rebate management software. Create a document that captures the key reasons for undertaking a new project, so that the executive decision maker can determine whether your project should move forward or not.
Even though transitioning to a new software system can be a daunting project, especially if your company has never used paid software solutions before, with the tips in this blog you can be certain to show them a business case that says otherwise.
5 key components of developing a business case:
- Define your business needs
Each business has its own unique set of needs. You probably have a range of reasons to replace your system, and the best way to start your business case is to lay these reasons out clearly. You can be even more persuasive by attributing a cost to them — either the potential ROI or the cost of doing nothing.
- Collate everyone's pain points
If you feel your existing software and processes are holding your business back, it’s definitely time to highlight in a business case how rebate management software can address the challenges you’re facing and/or the goals you’re trying to achieve. The trick here is to relate the problems you’re facing to the interests of the stakeholders you’re presenting to. Additionally, your business case should address why it’s necessary to act now to correct these issues and instil a sense of urgency in the decision-makers.
Start with user and stakeholder interviews. Make sure you talk with key members of staff from every department involved with rebates who use your current system or processes. Document everyone’s problems, discuss their departmental goals and challenges and how new technology would impact them. Talk about deal opportunities lost because of existing issues with technology or data.
- Estimate project duration and costs
Poorly underestimated costs create a high risk of project failure. Even if financial outcomes are delivered, higher than expected costs can overshadow business value. We recommend providing realistic cost benchmarks in your business case based on your project scope, company size and industry. This allows you to demonstrate how the benefits of the software outweigh the costs. In other words, what’s the ROI? Similarly, realistic timeframes help stakeholders understand when they can expect to recoup costs and see benefits realization.
- Access the benefits, ROI and risks
Stakeholders naturally are most interested in ROI. Obviously, they would want maximum profits from their investment in and will be interested in how this software will help the business achieve their overall goals. True ROI is often hard to measure and even harder to guarantee, be sure to explain that these numbers are the best projection of the expected benefits and costs of the new software that you’ve made with educated estimates.
Stakeholders are also likely going to anticipate project risks and ask you if the potential benefits are worth the possibility of failure. The best thing you can do here is to acknowledge the risks and show how you plan to mitigate them. Demonstrating the risks of doing nothing can be a very persuasive part of your business case. Remember, you can still frame these points as benefits.
At Enable we encapsulate the benefits of our software by focusing on three key areas:
- Boost financial performance - Enable automates the slow and often cumbersome process of managing and calculating rebates, giving your rebate team end-to-end visibility of their data. This results in actionable insights so they can drive decisions which increase margin, profitability, and sales.
- Increase operational efficiency - With Enable, you can dramatically reduce the hassle and time it takes in creating, approving, and processing trading agreements. By replacing paper-based tasks with a centralized deal repository that includes collaboration capabilities, you can free up valuable resource across your organization.
- Mitigate business risk - Rebates and B2B deals are getting more and more complex. Therefore, you are almost inevitably subject to greater disruption and risk. Enable gives you a single version of truth which ensures auditability and avoids knowledge silos across your organization.
5. Evaluate your rebate management software options
With various options to choose from it can seem overwhelming but after the information is collected sorted and narrowed down companies can then set up software demos with the vendors. The goal is to see the software in action, ask questions and identify the best features and functionality based on your company's needs.
The final steps of the business case
Once you have your business case written up check if it reflects what you are trying to do. Have you covered all the angles and “what if’s”? Are the costs, right? What are the benefits, but what could also go wrong? Bringing the people element back in – have all your colleagues had an input?
Next, once you have received the approval you’ve been hoping for, it’s important to have a clear vision for the next steps to implement and roll out your chosen rebate management solution. Of course, a good software provider like Enable will have processes in place to support you in getting started, meaning less wasted time and money trying to figure things out, a far quicker and smoother process, and a greater chance of ROI in the long run.
It’s also important to think about practical issues such as:
- Who will be the lead on the project?
- Which teams and users will be the first to use the system?
- How will users be transitioned away from existing processes / systems onto the new system?
Here at Enable we try to make the transition as smooth as possible, with our expert customer success team who in addition to providing top quality support, go through extensive planning, preparation and training prior to the switchover. Implementing new software doesn’t have to be a hassle – and it certainly shouldn’t be a barrier to considering an upgrade.
If you want to learn more about building a business case, watch our webinar with our CFO Nick Rose.