April 16, 2024

From Vision to Boardroom: Crafting a Winning Technology Proposal

Writing a successful technology proposal is not easy. That is why we want to demystify this skill and help turn your vision into a compelling, actionable, and value-driven plan that resonates with your board executives and directors.

Understanding the value of your assets and being able to articulate your technology needs is the first step in convincing board members to invest in digital upgrades. A well-crafted proposal should highlight the immediate benefits with a sense of urgency and describe the long-term value of these new technologies or initiatives.

Consider the following tips and best practices when creating a persuasive proposal for technology adoption.

State Your Purpose in the Executive Summary

Start by stating your purpose and emphasizing the benefit of the change you are proposing. A clear, concise executive summary is not just an introduction but also a way for stakeholders and executives to understand the why behind your technology proposal. They are looking for straightforward insights that outline your technology needs and how addressing these needs could revolutionize not only a department but also the entire company.

Address the Problem with Factual Data

There is one thing we want you to remember as you create your proposal: it is just as important to convince the board that there is a problem to solve, rather than just offering a solution.

For example, say your manufacturing business operates with the same inventory system you have had for the past 15 years. Years later, this system is outdated and a major roadblock to efficiency, productivity, and growth. Point out specifically why it is failing and why your solution is a better alternative.

Maybe your current system cannot handle real-time data or is not compatible with modern analytics tools. Will it speed up production cycles? Can it improve product quality? Will it lead to cost savings in the long run?

Ask these questions to help focus your proposal and then demonstrate the impact with factual data. Steer away from vague promises of “adding value,” and instead show concrete financial and operational advantages.

Brevity is the Soul of Wit (and Proposals)

Time is more than money, and your organization’s leaders are strategic about how they use it. Therefore, your proposal should capture their attention and convey key information within the span of a five-minute read. Think of your proposal’s summary as an elevator pitch: crisp, concise, and succinct.

Keep in mind your summary should be just that: a summary. Do not forget to back up your proposal with facts, but reference them at length in the appendix. By respecting the board members’ time and providing a clear overview, you are more likely to earn their interest without getting bogged down with unnecessary details and jargon.

The Essentials for Your Technology Proposal

Following your executive summary, you should also include these essential items within your technology proposal:

Core Blueprint – Lay the foundation of your technology proposal. This should include giving context to your approach, notes on background, and explaining the gaps, inefficiencies, or opportunities your technology investment seeks to address.

Macro Trends – Identify the macro trends that shape your industry. Whether it includes technology trends such as optimization through artificial intelligence (AI), the fluctuating labor market, or seasonal impacts on your operations, these factors play a role in determining your strategy and proposed solution.

Micro Trends – Consider how micro-trends affect your business. Zoom in and focus on how your new technology stack will provide value to other departments. You may be surprised by how well you can align departmental objectives with the overarching company goals.

Cost-Benefit Analysis – This is where you want to be heavy on hard, defensible numbers. Make sure to connect the dots between the proposed changes and tangible, monetary benefits like reduced Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and enhanced Return on Investment (ROI), following up with factual data to show that your proposal is feasible and``` financially sound in the long term.

Options – Provide at least two options in your proposal that align with your goals. Multiple options give your board members more to consider. Include a clear list of the pros and cons of each option, and be honest! The more honest you are the better.

Appendix – Put all of the granular, in-depth details in the appendix at the end of your proposal. This should supplement all other sections within your proposal and include highly thorough and fact-driven content for those who want to dive deeper.

Leveraging the Expertise and Guidance of a Third-Party

It is easy to overlook how impactful the expertise of a third party is for turning your tech vision into a successful board presentation. By seeking outside help, you can tap into the expertise of a seasoned team like Guide Technologies.

With a wealth of knowledge in discrete and process manufacturing, paired with our experience in both preparing and evaluating countless proposals, we are here to offer our advice and help guide you through your digital transformation. Whether you're seeking guidance for your technology proposal or software solutions for your manufacturing business, we can help bring your vision to life.