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03 September 2015

The business case: waste of time or a critical success factor?

They say “The best ideas fit on a Posit-it note.” That sounds great, but in many organisations the reality turns out to be somewhat more complicated. Particularly with a project which has a significant impact on the available people, resources or existing processes, most managers would hardly be satisfied with a messy, scribbled Post-it note. The how and why should you invest needs to be substantiated in a formal business case, where costs and yields are detailed and an answer is given to questions regarding feasibility, complexity and duration.

White Paper - Building a credible business case

Computer Aided Facility Management software provides value to the bottom line of a company. But the board of directors is not always aware of CAFM benefits.

Read more

But how do you actually write a business case? And is it really a sensible use of your time? Of course the amount of time it takes depends on the nature of the idea, and could vary from a couple of hours to several weeks, depending on the complexity. To avoid wasting your valuable time and to ensure that your business case contributes to reaching your objectives, I give you below nine tips for writing a complete business case.

  1. Write an executive summary that communicates the vision of the project and how it fits into the organisational strategy

  2. Align vision with goals: if a business case expresses goals in correspondence with organisational vision, it identifies exactly how the purchase will contribute to realisation of the company’s vision

  3. Selling to internal stakeholders is essential for building confidence in the project and a vital element in an organisation’s strategic plan. Evidence of how the new solution will contribute to growth educates project sponsors of the rationale to the project

  4. Show the project budget in an initial fundraising proposal to inform leadership of expenditures and potential options for incremental financing of the total plan

  5. Getting financial controller support is the gold seal of approval. If a business case has been adequately engaged by an organisation’s finance department, the likelihood of it being selected for approval is generally higher

  6. Work with leadership upfront and request assistance from key stakeholders in preparation of the proposal

  7. Use a GANTT chart to schedule incremental implementation of strategic project activities as graphical illustration is the surest method of convincing leadership

  8. Guarantee financial accuracy, because presenting the right numbers in financial reporting are like a magical talisman for leadership

  9. Perform audits regularly and monitor results in a continuous process

Even when you are considering purchasing an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS), it’s advisable to write a business case. One that has a perspective of at least three years – including internal and external costs and the monetary and non-monetary benefits. To help you get going, in its white paper “Building a sound business case” Planon has already listed six concrete benefits when implementing an IWMS. And this is how you give yourself time for other important things, like catching up with colleagues at the pub.

Anne-Marie Kleiss
Director Marketing Operations & Field Marketing Europe and APAC