Software system updates can be a significant investment for businesses of all sizes. If you’re an SME, you’re likely to be running software that manages inventory, purchasing, customer billing, and accounting. Some companies will also use CRM and other types of software which can make the business more efficient, solving administrative headaches that would otherwise take a lot of time and paperwork.

The software industry is continually updating, as changes in technology reflect the changing needs of customers. Over time, systems become more capable, more flexible, easier to use, and faster.

For businesses that haven’t updated their software in years, it’s likely that they’re missing out on the latest functionality which can make a big difference to the way a company operates, and leave them lagging behind their competitors.

Unfortunately, while sometimes everyone will agree that the software systems need to be updated, you’ll also find that occasionally ideas will clash and not everyone will be on board for a systems upgrade.

If you know your software systems need to be updated, and you also know that management is unlikely to agree, here are some ways to help your boss see your side and understand why a software update is so important:

Focus on time savings

This can be an underrated benefit of updating your software systems, and eliminating inefficient tasks will free up staff to work towards the goals of the business and look after customers instead of managing Excel files and paper. Sometimes you’ll find that the entire workload of one person can be eliminated with a new system, which would allow that person to work on much more important activities.

While time savings and productivity gains will often quickly pay for a software system update, since time is often viewed as a soft cost and people are already being paid, this new efficiency may not be immediately apparent.

Convince your boss:

Make a list of all of the things that staff are doing now which could be eliminated with a software update, and a list of all the great things that everyone will have the time to do once the software has been updated.

Being exact about these savings is also important. While it’s easy to say that updated software will “save lots of time”, focusing on exactly how much time is being wasted is a better way to go about it. If it takes two employees three hours each week to compile specific reports, a software system that automatically creates and delivers these reports will save more than 300 hours of work each year for those two people alone.

Show increased awareness

Another good reason to update your software is the opportunity to improve your business intelligence, and become more aware of what’s actually happening in the company.

When your boss sees the level of detail provided by the many reports on different parts of the business and they can then use this information to fix the issues (improving the way the business runs), while improving profitability, finding efficiencies and saving money, you’ll be able to say (or at least think) “I told you so”.

Convince your boss:

It can be tricky to convince your boss of something that they’ll only see once the software has been implemented. For this reason, case studies are an excellent way to demonstrate all of the benefits that other companies similar to yours (the same size, in the same niche etc), have received due to the upgrade. Showing them example reports of the type of information they would be able to see with the upgrade is a great option as well.

Make it management’s idea

Managers will often involve staff in different changes to lessen potential push-back. This can also work in reverse, and if you begin discussing efficiency strategies with key people in the business, mentioning how updated software can help, they’ll be likely to feel that the change is their idea.

Convince your boss:

Often money will be the biggest barrier for a software update. In this case, begin by finding a software development company that’s a good fit for what you’re trying to achieve, so you can get an idea of how much the update would cost and can approach management with more information.