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September 03, 2015

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

“The best ideas can fit on a beer coaster.” That sounds great, but in many organizations the reality turns out to be somewhat more difficult. 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 napkin. How and why to invest must be substantiated in a formal business case, where costs and yields are detailed, and an answer is given to questions about feasibility, complexity, and duration.

White Paper - Building a credible business case

To get internal support and convince management, a business case is needed. This whitepaper explains how to build a business case for IWMS.

Read more

But how do you actually write a business case? And is it really a worthwhile use of your time? The amount of time it takes depends on the nature of the idea and can vary from a few hours to several weeks, depending on the complexity. To avoid wasting your valuable time and to ensure that your business case contributes to realizing your objectives, below are nine tips for writing a sound business case.

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

  2. Align vision with goals: if a business case expresses goals in correspondence with organizational 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 organization’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 organization’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, read the white paper “Building a sound business case” which lists six concrete benefits of implementing an IWMS.

And this will give you time for other things at the bar.

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