What To Look For When Evaluating A New Tech Tool

Look at tech requests carefully before approving.
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CFOs should always look at new tech spend requests with a discerning eye, but especially so when budgets are tight and productivity is mission critical. Here’s what to ask.

When it comes to purchasing business software and other tech tools, CFOs are often the final stakeholders who need convincing. This can be a tricky situation to navigate for a finance chief, as many of these tools don’t directly impact our day-to-day, and we don’t necessarily have hands-on experience with the tech we’re being asked to spend money on.

In today’s economic climate, CFOs need to be conservative spenders. Organizations can’t shell out money left and right for every point solution under the sun—especially when there are integrated options out there that help cut down on tech spend even when times are good.

What, then, should CFOs look for when evaluating new tech tools? How can we separate the wheat from the chaff? Here are a few tips to help you make the right choice for your teams and your wallet.

Talk to your champions

First and foremost, CFOs need to identify and communicate with the right advocates for a piece of software within our own organizations. As CFOs are evaluating tech stacks and trying to make prudent decisions, we need to hear compelling arguments from the buyer. If they’re not strongly advocating for a certain tool, that’s a big red flag.

That said, no matter the economic environment, the strongest and most adamant voice for a certain tool must be the leader who’s accountable for the business results the software promises to drive. As an example, if you’re looking at sales engagement technology, your champion should be the chief revenue officer—the ultimate value proposition of sales engagement software is to drive revenue and make sellers more productive, which means your CRO should be the biggest advocate for this type of tech.

Look for tangible benefits

The first question you should ask of any champion before a tech investment or renewal is this: What would happen if you didn’t have access to this tool? They should be able to present a solid business case for how a certain software will drive desirable outcomes and why you should thus spend money on it. It is always surprising how often a business leader realizes that the original problem they were trying to solve with technology has changed over time.

Outcome-driven results and objectives like back office and operational efficiency are key benefits to look for. Will this software cut down on ramp up time for new hires? Will it mean teams can accomplish more work with fewer employees? Will it improve a suboptimal workflow or employee experience?

Beyond this, ask if they can provide any actual data or improvements the company can expect with this tool under its belt, like increased sales metrics or fewer hires.

Look for integrated tools

In today’s digital-first environment, there’s been an explosion of new tools to help us do our jobs remotely. Unfortunately, many of these tools don’t talk to each other, and they end up complicating workflows rather than simplifying them—all while costing your business more money.

When determining whether to invest in new technology, integration is the name of the game. Single yet comprehensive solutions that can functionally replace multiple tools in your existing tech stack are a boon—especially in our current economic climate.

If someone brings you a business case for one piece of software that can replace two or three tools, save money and accomplish what they need, it’s a much easier case to approve than yet another one-off point solution. CFOs should constantly be looking for software providers that can offer a suite of solutions versus solving a single problem.

Not all asks are created equal

CFOs should always look at new tech spend requests with a discerning eye, but especially so when budgets are tight and productivity is mission critical. Compelling cases that offer tangible predicted outcomes backed by data should always be your priority, particularly if the tools in question replace or consolidate existing tech stacks.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean you have to say no to every new software request that crosses your desk—it just means you need to be thorough and judicious when deciding what you’re going to approve.

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