The success of digital initiatives can be tied to one critical factor – executive buy-in. We look at seven top tips plus the advantage of Microsoft Catalyst to gain executive buy-in.

By Wayne Davies

One of the most important and often most challenging pieces of the puzzle when starting off on a digital transformation journey is getting executive buy-in.

We don’t say this lightly, but the success (or often failure) of digital initiatives can be tied to one critical factor – the commitment of the organization’s leadership to changing the way business gets done. Executive buy-in is important. Not only will executive leadership ensure the technology project aligns with an organization’s business goals, but it will also lead the path to ensuring that decisions are made on time, and resources are appropriately allocated.

And – let’s not skim over the fact that digital transformation can be a big cultural change. Making sure that all teams are onboard is critical. Unless there is an exceptionally good reason to adopt change, it is often met with resistance. In fact, you will often hear phrases like, “that’s the way we have always done it around here” or “that won’t work here” from people who may not initially see the value. To get past this, the business must reach its ‘tipping point’— the point at which the rationale for a meaningful change becomes overwhelmingly obvious.

The 2021 ERP Report from Panorama Consulting recently highlighted these top tips for ‘How to Gain Executive Buy-in”:

  1. Understand what executives want from a new system While this may sound simple, it is extremely powerful. It engages executives, and at the same time, it gives you the information you need to plan a project that executives will support.
  2. Understand current pain points Ask employees about their pain points and communicate these to executives by showing how an ERP system or new tech strategy can address them.
  3. Develop a business case Executives need to know the total cost of ownership of the new system over the next five years. They also want to know about business benefits and cost savings over time.
  4. Provide options Executives typically like to see a variety of options. While it may seem like a new ERP system is the only viable option, it is important to show executives that other options have been carefully considered.
  5. Develop a risk management plan Having a plan in place ensures that the organization can mitigate risks that the project team may not see. This will assure executives’ fears about potential cost overruns, timeline overruns, and major operational disruption.
  6. Seek alliances from other functional areas Any given pain point is likely to be a pain point in other departments as well. So be sure to recruit proponents of change from across the organization. The more people that support the business case, the more likely executives are to seriously consider it.
  7. Learn from previous change management failures Organizations should investigate previous change management initiatives conducted by the company. What worked? What did not? Share with executives how this next project will approach change management differently.

Bring in an expert

Sometimes you need the support of an outside expert to break through a wall. An outsider has the independence to challenge traditional thinking, break down paradigms, and “teach the old dogs’ new tricks.”

Here, at, we run a program called Microsoft Catalyst which is a framework (the IDEA framework) of activities designed to support organizations that are about to embark upon some form of transformation. The framework has four stages, each of which moves you closer to achieving your transformation:

  • Inspire – Find the transformation strategy that is right for you. Define and prioritize your strategy using development activities, then foster ideation, and drive decision making with an envisioning workshop.
  • Design – Build a compelling case for change by discussing business and technological impact. You will quantify the return on investment, revenue growth, cost savings, and employee efficiencies.
  • Empower – Help others across your organization see the value in your business transformation by creating visual assets and immersive experiences. These promote buy-in and get alignment on commitments.
  • Achieve – Bring in the resources you need to execute your strategy and conduct your business transformation across departments. Then measure its success.

We believe that professional services companies are undergoing the largest digital transformation in history and Microsoft technologies like Teams, Azure, Power BIPower Platform, and Dynamics 365 have been at the heart of this change. has been able to leverage the experience gained from helping professional services companies with the Microsoft platform for over 30+ years to help speed up technology adoption delivering faster time to value, enriched client experiences, and business excellence. Get in touch to find out more about our business ready, pre-configured solutions.