A business case is an opportunity
All governments seek to optimise the success of their investment in digital transformation and ICT infrastructure.
A business case is a formal framework used to explain to the need to start an initiative. It gives decision-makers a clear understanding of the problem to be solved and offers practical solutions.
The business case explains to decision-makers the purpose, risks, and intent of a proposed ICT investment. It should give the decision-makers confidence that the recommended solution has undergone rigorous analysis and that it is the best option to achieve your objectives and intended outcomes.
Business cases should be a mandatory tool in managing digital and ICT initiatives.
Business cases should be a mandatory tool in managing digital and ICT initiatives. The OECD notes the importance to public sector transformation of developing ‘clear business cases to sustain the funding and focused implementation of digital technologies projects’. (Recommendation No. 9 of the Recommendation on Digital Government Strategies).
Many projects struggle to deliver on cost targets, deadlines, and expected benefits. Using a business case provides a basis for planning and implementation. It is a basis for measuring the ongoing viability of the government’s investment in a digital service or ICT system.
A compelling business case adequately captures both the business need and how the proposed investment meets that need.
Business cases are evaluated to ensure:
- the investment has value, importance, and relevance.
- the implementation will be properly managed.
- the organisation has the capability to deliver the benefits.
- the organisation’s resources are working on the highest value opportunities.
- initiatives with inter-dependencies are undertaken in the optimum sequence.
Not all business cases are the same
All business cases, whatever the format, share some common characteristics. They describe a problem, consider different ways to solve that problem, and recommend the most suitable solution for the specific circumstances.
The level of detail, complexity of analysis and even the size of the document should be proportionate to the cost, complexity and scale of the proposal being considered.
The Business Case may be the entire argument presented to decision-makers, it may be part of a suite of documents, or it may inform the documents that decision-makers use to agree to the investment.
Remember that your organisation may have specific requirements on the format of the business case, depending on the size of the investment and the implementation risks of your proposal.
All good business cases share common qualities
The structure and content of your business case needs to be:
- clear – it is easy to understand and logically structured.
- succinct – it reflects quality not quantity.
- persuasive – it presents a robust and compelling argument.
The business case will focus on achieving clear and measurable outcomes. It will consider realistic and feasible options and address how you will:
- manage changes to business process and policy.
- develop, acquire and use technology.
- ensure that your people have the skills, knowledge and culture to implement and use the solution.
- develop, use and store data and information.