Information is at the heart of a strong business case. Even if your intuition tells you the right outcome, it’s hard to influence decision-makers based on this. You need to rely on the facts:

User comments

The most valuable information you have is the opinions of users and interested parties about the problem or challenge you are facing. Take the time to meet with them so that you understand the problem from their perspective remember the conceptual thinking and don’t jump to conclusions too quickly. For writing a business case this is important.

Practical examples and practical cases: What are the real tasks and activities that the employees try to carry out? Case studies are an effective way of translating a theoretical goal into the eyes of decision-makers with examples of the needs that people, processes or systems have to meet.

Data: Gather relevant data. This step will be more or less easy or difficult, but try to collect as much data as possible, especially that which concerns the economic implications of the status quo and the costs and benefits of change.

State of the Market: Learn as much as you can about the solutions your competitors and others have adopted to address the same challenge or problem. You usually can find a relevant industry survey or report that gives me enough background information and then ads information that have compiled yourself.

Write it down.

Your way of building the business case varies depending on the circumstances. Usually present general information on the project, its objective or reason for being, its impact on lawyers and other interested parties, the technological approach, as well as the estimated time and budget.

For example, a large technology project, presented the results of user survey early on in the business case, as that was the most compelling reason to complete the project. It is also highlighted the benefits of the project and the technological risks of standing still.

State the why clearly:

Draw inspiration from the teachings, “Start with Why”. In your business case, clearly explain the proposed change and its rationale, so that decision-makers are interested in your project. When your reasons are clear, those who share your convictions will want to stand up for your project.

Leverage your data:

Data is incredibly useful for illustrating rather than just describing the current state of affairs and how it is changing based on your proposition, making it easy for decision makers to draw comparisons. Too bad if you find your data to be mediocre, it is still usable. Even rudimentary statistics, for example on the number of searches that are carried out, can base a statement like: Therefore, each collaborator starts about X searches per day, which makes the research function our most crucial tool in our practice. For understanding corporate governance  this is important.

Tell Powerful Stories:

While statistics matter, telling a personalized story has an even stronger effect. For a particular project, you can use quotes from surveys and interviews with interested parties. You can also tell stories and anecdotes that personally challenged decision-makers and were shared with me by their colleagues and peers.

Effects on the User:

Clearly formulate and quantify the effects of your proposal on the user. The impacts can be objective and subjective. Will employees save time or be able to focus on more profitable work? Will the new way of doing things eliminate the frustrations? Will the execution of the tasks be facilitated? Will the user impact reach customers or business partners?

Business implications: Estimate the base costs and incidental costs of the change you are proposing. Figure out the profits or savings you expect.

Competitor Information: Whether your approach is to follow best practices and behave like the competition or stand out from the crowd and do things differently, you need to do a competitive analysis. When you are considering an innovation or a technology that you do not already have, it is essential to do a competitive analysis to know who else is using it, what the opportunities are and what your competitors are doing.

Risk of acting or doing nothing: In certain situations, you have to decide whether you run the risk of acting or, on the contrary, of doing nothing. For example not replacing technology that is reaching the end of its useful life poses a risk. Likewise, adopting an innovative or major change also poses a risk. In both cases, these risks should be pointed out to decision-makers.

Choices: Last but not least, present several choices to your decision makers. Usually, offer two or three choices, one of which is the “status quo”. They must be wise choices that you feel are viable and that you are prepared to take on and defend. Each choice should include a cost estimate. You should also provide your own assessment of the choices, which may be a simple list of the pros and cons of each or a detailed analysis.


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