Building a Business Case - convincing your Board to switch to Office 365

Any time you need to persuade your Board of Directors to invest in technology like Office 365, you need to convince them the investment is worthwhile. This means demonstrating the ROI, which isn’t always necessarily about the pounds and pennies. Convincing the Board means understanding their priorities and tailoring your argument to those concerns.

8 May 2017

Use your time in front of them to demonstrate how the new technology aligns with corporate strategy and how it will help the company achieve its business goals. In the case of Office 365, that means discussing the appropriate product benefits when the board wants the company to:

Stay competitive

If the Board is concerned that the company needs to upgrade its technology to stay competitive in an age of digital transformation, emphasise the capabilities offered by Office 365. It offers a fully-fledged suite of productivity and collaboration tools, including voice and videoconferencing. It also integrates fully with other tools employees already use, including the Microsoft Office desktop applications and SharePoint. As a result, employees don't need much training to start using Cloud versions of these applications. Migrating to Office 365 also means that your company will always be up-to-date with the latest version of the applications; you'll never have roll out an update across your business or worry about creating files that some users working with an older version of the application can't read.

Increase productivity and grow the business

With Office 365 in the Cloud, users can access the applications and their files from any location and any device, with the ability to work even if they're offline. Because of the sharing and collaboration features, employees can also work together on a single master document, rather than needing to merge changes made individually. Additionally, Microsoft Office provides a 99.9 service level agreement that guarantees the applications are available when your employees need it, as well as full enterprise-level support. Less downtime = more employee productivity.

Keep company data safe

Boards frequently worry about the security of data in the Cloud, although with advances in technology the reality is that Cloud is as safe - or sometimes even safer - than most corporate datacentres. Office 365 runs in Microsoft's highly secure datacentres and includes built-in protection against viruses and other malware. All connections use SSL encryption for security; Office 365 requires strong passwords and can support multifactor authentication. In addition to encryption, to prevent unauthorised users from reading files Office 365 supports Information Rights Management to help you manage how documents are shared. Other tools support archiving and e-discovery, allowing the business to satisfy any regulatory compliance mandates.

Save Money

For some Boards, the bottom line is just that - the bottom line. If this is the case, emphasise the way Office 365 can help the company save money. By using the Cloud, you'll transform upfront capital expenditure into ongoing operational expenditure, strengthening the investment case. Managing licenses is also simplified - with Office 365 you can easily scale up or down, so you'll pay only for your active users.  

Whichever Business Case you need to make to the Board, make sure you're prepared before you go in. While Office 365 is top-tier technology, it's best to avoid acronyms and technical terms board members might not know. Boards like numbers, so even if you aren't talking about fiscal benefits, use figures to justify your position. Although your presentation should focus on the Board's main area of concern, you should also be prepared to address their questions about other concerns as well. The more solid your answers to those questions, the more likely the board will trust your judgment and see the benefits of Office 365 for your business.

Kelvin Papp

Product Manager

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