If you’re writing a business case then it’s likely that you’ve identified a project that has potential for your organisation – and to bring the vision to life you need to convince the board and senior management to invest in your project. The decision around which projects to execute is entirely based on ability to add value to the organisation and the purpose of a business case is to unbiasedly examine an area of the business workflow, and then showcase the benefits of utilsing your project as a part of it.
It is easy to understand the value of a project when you’re intimately involved with it, but the functionality of your project may not be so obvious to key decision makers. For your project to have the best chance of being approved you need to ensure it is well represented and this article is going to examine 4 keys to writing an effective business case.
1) Identify the problem
When writing a business case you should first aim to explore the area in which you’ve identified a problem with the current system. This might be an obvious issue with the functionality of the business, or the fact that you’ve identified a new way to operate that may be more productive than the current system. In either case, you want to ensure that you set the scene for your solution by first summarising the current functionality within the business that it intends to improve upon.
2) Evaluate other strategies
Now that you’ve introduced the problem, you might have an urge to launch into the details of your project and the many benefits of its implementation. Unfortunately the first thought decision makers have when reading this is about all the other strategies they’ve previously considered in the area, and the many ways in which they may have failed in the past.
You don’t want your project bundled in with the failures and so it is beneficial to evaluate other known solutions before diving into the benefits of your own. This will prove that you have in-depth knowledge of the area and understand the reasons why similar projects have not been undertaken in the past.
3) Showcase your solution
With the minds of the decision makers now at ease, trusting that you have in fact thought this one through – it’s finally time to present your solution. An effective business case will define the basic functionality of the solution, highlight the key differences when compared to existing solutions, and showcase the ways in which it’s implementation will provide business value..
4) Keep things clear and concise
When writing about a project you’re closely involved with it’s easy to get carried away with the intricacies. As necessary as these details are for functionality, they won’t necessarily sell your concept to the board or other key decision makers and it is more important to present your project in a way that is interesting and easy to understand. The readers of your business case will have the opportunity to further engage with you and learn more about your project, so you should stick to the bare essentials, avoid any unnecessary technical jargon and focus primarily on the value added by your project.
A lot more goes into writing a business case than may meet the eye, but assuming that you’re knowledgeable in your field, success will come through simply including the right information in a clear and presentable format. To be effective you should demonstrate knowledge of other solutions in the area as this will build trust with decision makers and ensure that your own project is well received. Getting a project approved is all about demonstrating value, and your business case is your primary tool for engagement – so it pays to ensure you frame it correctly!
Author: Hailey Romeo – Liberty IT Head of Marketing