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"Getting a Technology Go-Ahead"

How do you get your organization to sign on to major technology upgrades in your department? Here are Miller's suggestions.

Stay current with the latest technological innovations and concepts. Always look for new applications for existing applications and how you might adapt them to achieve new goals.

Link Nutrition Service project requests to the organizational mission and demonstrate how they often impact more people more ways more often.

Calculate ROI for multiple measures. For Efficiency, calculate labor savings; for Service, calculate time spent in manual tasks now redirected to direct patient care activities; for Quality, show how more automation reduces the number of handoffs and error opportunities.

Don't expect funding the first time it's requested, but be prepared to purchase quickly if funding is approved. Know what you want, where and how to get it and how much it will cost. An unexpected opportunity can arise with a short window to buy, such as a chance to bundle your project with another project, or the sudden availability of excess operational funds at the end of a fiscal year. Be prepared to take advantage of sudden opportunities.

If you're going to push for change, think big. When technology opens the window, push as many changes as possible through it. If you are going to make a change, make it a big one.

Weigh the risks of buying now vs. buying later. If you assume the risk of being an early adopter, work with the supplier to negotiate a return for all the work you will do to fine-tune a first generation application.

"WIIFM" (What's In It For Me) is still the best way to sell staff. ROI calculations may convince administrators but not staff. An engaged staff truly does want to make improvements, but the implementation phase will make their work more difficult. Gain their buy-in by reinforcing the benefits that relate directly to them.

Validate your contribution. Track, calculate and communicate ROI measures, develop an executive summary outlining how much you've achieved and share it with the CFO and key executives. Once you've established a proven track record of making good use of allocated capital funds, it facilitates future requests.

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