Need to conduct business case
analysis for an information management project and want practical
suggestions to ensure rapid project delivery?
What is a business case?
it’s not something you use to carry your lunch to
It is a document that specifies the rationale
proceeding with an information management project.
It is sometimes
called a feasibility
study because it involves determining the
technical and financial realities of continuing with a planned project.
organizations have information management projects?
Organizations will typically initiate information management projects
because they want to:
operational efficiency by reducing
costs and streamlining processes such as consolidating several legacy
systems, each with it’s own database structure, into one enterprise
resource planning (ERP) application which shares data;
effectiveness, by increasing sales or
reducing customer loss thru more effective use of technology and
software such as a customer relationship management (CRM) system, which
will store all customer contact information in one location;
with increased regulatory control by
developing systems and processes to satisfy new laws such as the USA
Patriot Act; or
business case analysis important?
obsolete systems and technology, which
are no longer supported by vendors and have become uneconomical to
In today’s economy, it is very important that all investments
in direct support of business needs.
Information management projects can be very expensive
in terms of money
and other resources and it is important that proposals for each new
evaluated in terms of “business need”.
Imagine you want to build an addition to your house so that you can
accommodate an aging relative. You and your family agree on what should
be built, the projected costs, and how the renovation project will be
managed to ensure that what is constructed is what was
required. This agreement is really a type of “business
rationale” (but for a personal reason).
The rationale for a management information project is similar except
that it may go into more detail about the expected “return on
investment”. In other words, it describes what cost savings
or increased revenue will occur if we proceed with the project, and
what costs we can expect as we develop and implement the solution.
help deliver projects faster?
The document provides management
a means of monitoring project progress
to ensure that it continues to meet objectives
and does not diverge
into other “interesting” things that the project team might find.
It clearly sets scope and expectations, which, if carefully managed,
will minimize time delays and cost over-run.
prepare the case?
information owners have overall responsibility for preparing a business
case for information management projects.
The IT department has ownership for the technology required
to store and process information needed for management and business
can’t they take ownership for writing a business case for information
They can initiate the idea and perform much of the business case
analysis but the proposed project must ultimately support business
objectives—not just IT objectives.
For example, the IT department might want to make a case for data
management to improve data warehouse load performance. This
sounds like a good idea but the system case might be stated as:
data warehouse load performance means that we can
get information into decision maker’s hands earlier. This will improve
decision-making capabilities and improve customer experience thus
reducing customer turnover".
should we make a case?
Business case analysis is the first
management project. It should clearly define what the project is
expected to deliver, at what cost, and in what time frame.
It should also document the expected return
investment and how the
project will be managed to ensure that business objectives are met.
Organizations frequently insist on a business case for things like:
How do we
prepare a business case?
- Customer relationship management systems (CRM);
- Enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications;
- Data quality projects;
- Technology upgrades;
- New software;
- IT HR outsourcing;
- Project management if they are considering
outside consultant support to management projects;
software development; and
- Strategy if they are contemplating an
information management strategic plan.
Each organization is different—Some have a very formal approach to
building a business case and will require a formal business case study,
feasibility study or cost
benefit analysis requiring consulting support.
Other companies will require less formal approaches.
In all cases, a common business case template will
help ensure that each information management project
is evaluated in a consistent manner.
Information management standards and best practices should be
developed to address some or most of the following topics:
Analysis business case;
Building the business case;
Business case analysis engineering;
Business case analysis template;
Business case analysis tools;
Business case assessment;
Business case consulting;
Business case for corporate responsibility;
Business case for data management;
Business case for HR outsourcing;
Business case for project management;
Business case for quality;
Business case for technology;
Business case for the enterprise;
Business case intelligence study;
Business case projects;
Business case project management;
Business case project sample;
Business case study example;
Business case summary;
Business case valuation;
Business marketing case;
Computer business case analysis;
Create a business case;
Creating a business case;
CRM business case;
Developing a business case;
ERP business case;
Financial business case;
IT business case;
Marketing business case; and
Writing business case.
A business case analysis phase clearly sets project scope and
expectations, which, if
carefully managed, will minimize time delays and cost over-run.