Funding for your MAM – Part 1

So you want to convince your company to fund a MAM.  This is often one of the hardest things to do for a technology professional since very few of us can speak accounting fluently. Most of the time our bosses or the finance group give us a yearly budget to work with that we usually have no input on.  I often hear “this is just how it is” or “I have no idea how to do a budget request since I am an engineer and not an accountant.”  Rather than see this as a problem why not look at it as a possibility for growth.  By learning how to do budgets you can increase your worth to the company by showing that you are more than a technical person and have a better chance of building the system that you want since you will be the one who designed the funding request.

ROI, TCO, etc sound very scary but these are important metrics that upper management needs to know so that the project you are requesting will make sense to the organization’s bottom line.  In your personal world would you buy a stock or a mutual fund if you did not see a way to profit from owning it?  This is similar to what finance people are looking for. They want to make sure that every dollar spent on a technical project makes sense and will either generate a profit or have some cost savings to the company (generating more profits).

Before we get into budgeting we need to think about how to justify the project. What type of organization do you work for?  Are you a profit based group or do you support others (a cost center)?

If you are profit based, you need try to show how this system will generate new revenue possibilities. This is a much easier sell in this type of entity than showing cost savings.  For example, let’s say that you are a small stock footage company that handled all of your sales via an old FileMaker database that had a small still proxy on each record. It should be an easy sell to get a MAM with a web front end that has the ability to take credit cards from users and deliver them any number of file types and resolutions automatically.  Obviously these new revenue possibilities will need to outweigh any costs for the system but this could be a great untapped revenue stream for the company.

Now if you are a cost center, how can the system show savings to the company and the departments you support? Are you currently renting or purchasing expensive systems for managing clips?  Do you need to provide some type of remote editing and logging? Are there manual touch points in your current workflows that could be eliminated lowering headcount or re-purposing these employees to do more creative tasks? Can you lower shipping or tape stock costs with this system?  Can you increase productivity and push more work through your facility?  These are all ways of saving costs for the company and allowing that money to be converted into profit.

Next week we will look at a sample case study to show how answering the questions above can be converted into a budget request for your project.