Building Consensus for Software System Replacement

Pandemic relief funding has created an unprecedented budget allocation for local and state/provincial agencies. More importantly, with over 50% of American Rescue Plan funds still not budgeted with states having until 2024 to obligate the funds, the question is no longer, “Where can we get the funding and what we can we spend it on?” but, “Who is going to get it?



This unprecedented access to project funding is a boon for government leaders striving to modernize their software systems and digital services, but competition amongst agencies both internally and across jurisdictions is fierce. To secure the necessary budget allocation for your agency, you must have an effective action plan to build consensus among your various stakeholders. Doing so will require some fact finding and bridge building, but in addition to securing your funds, these efforts will pay dividends in the long run—ensuring that your future system meets or exceeds the needs for all involved.


Step 1. Envision Your New Software System


The government leaders that are most successful in securing funding for technology initiatives are those that can present an exciting vision for the future and advocate on behalf of the investment needed to make that future a reality.


For a software system replacement project, the best approach to properly visualize your future vision is by participating in a no obligation Discovery Demo with a potential software vendor. Not only does this Discovery process help to better inform your eventual project requirements when you embark upon an RFP process; from it you’ll also gain an invaluable perspective on the true extent to which this technology can transform your organization.


Typically based on the most recent implementation of the system, a Discovery Demo will give you both an overview of the entire technology platform as well as showing you the specific use cases that will resonate with key department heads and senior level stakeholders. As you ‘walk through’ the system, not only will you gain a more nuanced understanding of the technology, but most importantly, you’ll begin to envision how the system can be leveraged to its utmost to accomplish the Change Narrative that will form the foundation of your proposal to build stakeholder consensus and secure project funding.


It’s important to emphasize that a true product champion and change agent doesn’t restrict this discovery process to product demonstration alone. After all, when meeting with an experienced Solution Provider like Computronix with over 40+ years of successful government system implementations, you’re chatting with folks who’ve successfully stewarded new technology projects past every conceivable challenge. You will never find a better resource to help you articulate the innovation vision that will eventually become the compelling business case that charms the skeptics and galvanizes your decision makers.


Approach your Discovery Demo as an opportunity to form a true consultative relationship. Doing so provides you the opportunity to leverage the Solution Provider for guidance to help address the early-stage challenges that can prevent your project from gathering the necessary momentum to succeed:


  • How do you accurately communicate anticipated ROI from your new software system?
  • If you’re a business champion, how do you get internal IT onboard as a value-add partner?
  • How do you communicate the value of the system as a pillar application delivering value to other agencies and/or partner organizations? This point is especially crucial for winning broader budget acceptance outside your own agency.
  • How will the new system help to achieve your jurisdiction’s overarching innovation strategy?
  • How can you best leverage the success stories from comparable agencies to ‘sell’ your vision?


Most government agencies are reluctant to lean on a Solution Provider to this extent until the project goes out to RFP and that is a shame, because having this no obligation consultation earlier in the process can be a true win/win for both parties.


  • For the Solution Provider, it’s an opportunity to help an agency envision an innovation strategy that fully exploits all that the technology is capable of as both an off-the-shelf system and a long-term development platform.
  • For the Agency, it’s an opportunity to learn and apply proven techniques that have been gleaned over dozens of project engagements to garner stakeholder consensus and budget approval.


Once a Discovery Demo is complete, your project vision may seem crystal clear and compelling, but here is where the effective Product Champion and Change Agent takes a step back to challenge this vision by engaging with two crucial stakeholder groups:


  1. External System Users
  2. Internal System Users



Next in this series: How to Engage Your End User Community and Peer Organizations for Feedback



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