How to Convince Management to Upgrade Software?

Jun 19, 2015

Hey helpful community peeps!

At the Articulate event in Toronto this week a few community members brought up the fact that they are either currently using Studio or Storyline 1, but would like to upgrade to Storyline 2.

Does anyone have any tips to share on how you can convince your boss or management to upgrade from Studio or SL1 to SL2?

As always, thanks for your input!

16 Replies
Shelly Blair

Hi! I've had a lot of experience with this in the last year. I find that illustrating the differences is most powerful. Make a quick and dirty example using the trial version of the new software, or grab an example from an ELH challenge. Point to a specific training/module you are already working on and show them how it can be improved, focusing on the client. Your client might be internal employees, or an actual client.

Also, showing them that you are committed to really using the heck out of the new tech. That you have done your research and want to learn how to use it. For example, pitch a software upgrade and a class that supports it at the same time. For example: "SL2 will really help us connect with our learners, look at this cool thing! If we upgrade, I found this workshop that I really want to attend to take my work to the next level. It costs $$"


I went through this as well. You can also leverage the content created by the community for the various elearning challenges. There are always amazing examples of what can be done in SL2 located there. And the nice thing is, you can use it to provide examples immediately; no need to create something on your own.

That is what I did to get my upgrade.

Rachel Barnum

A few ways:

1. Do they ever use contractors or external resources to help make courses? It would suck for those external resources to create the course in Storyline 2 and then be unable to edit them internally.

2. I once created a course in Storyline 1 that would have taken a significantly shorter amount of time in Storyline 2 due to the new timeline triggers. If I took my "pay" for those extra hours I spent creating that course, I would have already paid for the upgrade. 

3. Mobile is quickly catching up, and Android users shouldn't be left in the dust just because a company didn't want to upgrade.

4. PLAYER BUTTON STATES? & LOCKED DOWN SEEKBAR? Like, I don't know if any of them are in healthcare or in something that requires CE's... but I used to go through the most complex process of locking down courses in order to meet continuing education requirements. I almost regret that I'm no longer in that job in order to take advantage of those.

5. Enhanced accessibility - same with above, we had legitimately the most intense process to make our courses 508 compliant in Storyline 1, even with invisible background text warning learners that they were about to tab over to the menu and that it would be silent. Tab order was always fun too. 

6. Auto-recovery - do you know how many hours of saved work this has given me? Again, the amount of time I spent rebuilding slides alone due to Storyline 1 crashing after I hadn't saved for a while would pay for the upgrade alone. 

So, what it really comes down to is that the amount of time I've saved by upgrading to Storyline 2 has well paid for itself and then some. 

David Tait

My experience has taught me that a lot depends on how healthy the finances are.

Management always have a long list of things that take priority where cash is concerned; wages, rent, maintenance etc. Rightly or wrongly upgrades to software are often at the bottom of the pile, especially if there are multiple licenses needed to bring an entire team up-to-date.

I would consider researching the differences between the two versions and being honest with yourself as to whether you could use the new features to significantly improve your output for the benefit of your employer. We've all been in a position where we want the shiny new toy but often we don't really need it, take Photoshop for example, how many people use it just to crop photos?!

If the answer is yes, I can improve output and take something new to my employer then great, your case got a whole lot stronger as you'll believe what you're saying.

The next step would then be to create a demo that's relevant to your sales team using SL2. To make this worthwhile you'll need to focus on the SL2-specific features otherwise they'll just tell you to create it in SL1. Once sales have the demo they'll be able to drum up interest with clients, once there's interest your employer will have to invest in the upgrade in order to win the work. Everyone wins!

David Tait

The challenges are a great resource for inspiration but depending on the abilities of the developer they might want to tread carefully using other people's examples as leverage.

After all, the last thing anyone would want is to convince their boss to pay for an upgrade only to find that they don't have the skills to create content to the level of the example they used in their pitch!

It's great that it helped you Owen but I would always advise someone to use their own examples so they don't get caught out.

Bob S

Ok, so the veteran sales guy in me is coming out.... be warned!  :-)

Lots of great examples above about pitching the "advantage" of the new features to your boss. But they, like any customers, don't really care about that. 

They care about the "benefit".  In other words.... not what it does, but what will it do for me/my business/my learners. THAT is where the emotion is; and we all know sales are made on emotion and  justified with reason.

Consider your boss's pain points, interests, goals. What's important to her/him.  Then build backwards..  Imagine there is some noise about your course feedback scores....

Boss, you know how are learners have been clamoring for XYZ in our courses?  SL2 does A & B. That means we will meet their needs better and that should be reflected in our course review scores improving too!

Business leaders are just like the rest of us.... WIIFM.


Bruce Graham

Spot on Bob. We are the only people that really care about what features SL2 has.

Our clients and customers do not.

Talk in THEIR language - which is the language of Profit and Loss, Attrition, Objectives, Targets, Risk and so on. One of the main reasons our professional has recognition problems in industry is exactly because we start with the course. Bob is 100% correct. Start with the corporate language and the concept of WIIFM, and then work backwards. We are only in training to serve the business, so you cannot be truly effective in "selling" your request unless you talk in the correct way, and become a "business partner" rather than "...that person from training...".

Take every one of Rachel's points, and then add a "So what?" statement from the perspective of your company/manager/audience, but write the statement linked to items on your company Annual Report, (which you HAVE read - yes?). Then you are starting to get close to an investment pitch, (which is what you are trying to do). Work out the ROI, do a SWOT analysis etc. none of which really need to explicitly include the F&F of SL2. The features are only HOW you achieve the benefits, they are a route to market - and if you can state what your manager actually needs and wants, the decision will be easier. As Bob will hopefully agree - if you sell THIS way, (and by the ARE a salesperson now...), you will find that the "sale close" starts happening from the start, and is not something you have to fight with at the end.


Bob S

100% agreement. In fact, some of the classic selling programs use that very language....

"This Has...."     "So That...."      "So What?" (aka benefit)

Perhaps the all time  #1 mistake that rookie/non-pro salespeople make, is not talking in terms of relevant benefits. And as Bruce correctly points out..... Whether it's pitching an investment in software upgrades, or proposing long term training initiative; you ARE selling.

Mohammad  Hassam

100% agree with above fellows.

What is convincing? It is when a person or group of people satisfied enough to say yes.

You need to prepare a  ground before hitting the target.

It took me a while to understand how to convince my manager and teacher on upgrading articulate storyline at our college. Following  questions I was expecting they will ask: 

Why do we need that?

We already have a software what is the purpose of updating?

Is there something new that will make our e-learning courses more useful?

And some technology comfort questions.

Before going ahead i start making my ground by conducting training sessions on a new version where i selected group of Teachers as my audience who are already  working on AS1. I initiated the training by asking them questions about the old version and the feature they used so far. Comparative analysis of both the versions and introducing some new features. It took me more than a month to get them hands-on on the new version and start getting their feedback about the software. 

Meanwhile, I start talking with my colleagues, showing my e-learning courses, telling them about the efficiency of the course and how does it look like when it is incorporated with LMS.

After few months, I can see the urgency in teachers of knowing more about the software. If they stop at any step, they come to me. 

I shared all this with my manager and then asked for her support.  She agreed and wanted me to schedule a meeting with the supervisors of other departments. As a result, half of my meetings  went successful and others are considering it. 

In short, you need to create urgency before selling anything because that urgency will become a requirement and then necessity. 

Pedro Fernandez

In my specific situation, I had a good relationship with the leader presenting the budget proposal to senior leadership.  I am also part of the corporate world so my situation varies from academic settings.

(Some of the steps listed here may be similar to other postings)

Timing is Everything

If you just purchased version X.1 six months (or less) ago, then expect resistance.  You will need to elevate your game to new heights to convince your boss to purchase yet another version of whatever authoring tool you are using.  Unless there is a significant change in the software that helps you develop awe-inspiring courses, this will an uphill battle all the way.  Not unwinnable, mind you, but tougher than asking your manager to replace that 2-3 year old application that is really showing its age.  Try to come up with a good reason to put this "ask" in the next annual budget proposal.  You might just be presently surprised!

Ask the Right Questions

Don't ask "What will Storyline do for me?" but instead ask "What can Storyline do for my team and my organization?"  Remember, it's not about making things easier for you or having a new tool.  It's about being faster and creating better courses that improve the learning experience for your target audience.   Your case is about improving things for the business, not for you.  Prove that you can build it better, faster, stronger (Steve Austin style).

"Yeah, but what can you do with it?"

If you have been in the learning space long enough, you will undoubtedly read a copy of Telling Ain't Training.  Many learning professionals read this book and they have an epiphany (or apostrophe for you Monty Python fans out there) of sorts.  It changes your perspective in every area, save one: you ability to ask for new tools (or training, or conference passes, etc.).  Think about it.  Are you more likely to be successful if you, say, download a copy of the software and create a few great examples of what you can do with the latest version or provide your boss with a "really solid business case" in one of the hundreds of emails he or she gets every day?  Try taking an old course and really "kicking it up a notch" (thanks Emeril) with that new tool.  That will speak volumes for you.

"What about everyone else?"

OK, so you are pretty sure that you can convince your manager that your team needs to upgrade.  Great.  So what's the plan to get the rest of the team up to speed on the new software?  Oh you didn't think about that?  Uh-oh.  I have personally witnessed more than one person crash and burn because they did not have a plan to up-skill everyone on the team.  Even if you are a team of "ONE", have a plan, a schedule, and the cost associated with becoming proficient with your new toy.  Toy?  Tool. Yeah, that's it.  Tool.  For work.  Yeah, for work.

Have a Plan for those old and current courses

Another potential roadblock that I have learned to navigate through personal experience: older courses.  Yeah, that new tool is great and we are going to rock the learning community and all that but, seriously, what are we going to do with those old/current courses?  When are they going to get the gold star treatment?  Your boss will want to know.  Trust me.  Have a plan or a skeleton of a plan for dealing with those old courses.  Have a trainer that is always asking to join your team?  Give them a chance to show you what they are made of and have them "recreate" established courses or modules with the new tool.  Have a junior team member update courses for you.  If you are lucky enough to get some interns, have them "punch up" your existing or older courses.

In the end, it comes down to your ability to show them, rather than tell them, that upgrading is the right thing for the company, for your team, and for your audience.

And yes, I got the business to part with more than a few dollars for my team.  Score one for the learning geek.

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