The Business Case

Have you built your business case?

Building a business case is a vital step to get "buy-in" or approval from your executive team. It also can speed up the approval process and time to market as the organization has already "bought in" to the plan, budget, and resourcing. Don't forget to think about budget cycles when building your business case as missing critical milestones can push the project into the next fiscal year.

The Fundamentals

What is a business case?

A business case outlines the value proposition of your digital workplace. It contains necessary information about cost and resource requirements, benefits and risks involved, evaluation of issues, recommended solutions and a clear path to return on investment (ROI). It is most helpful in assessing the weight of risk, the cost of mitigating them, and the level of management’s risk tolerance.

Why do you need a business case?

A business case is one of the best tools to: 

  • Articulate your value proposition to key stakeholders
  • Ensure necessary support in the organization and set clear business objectives
  • Secure senior-level buy-in, budget, and commitment
  • Outline scope, including resource requirements, timeline, and cost
  • Evaluate options and make recommendations
  • Identify and manage the risk associated with the project

Building your business case

Building a business case requires planning and a solid framework which appeals to your executive team and/or sponsor. Depending on your organization and the project, your business case can vary from simple to complex. Generally, you need a business case to justify the resources or expenditures required to support a project and the project owner writes the business case with support from key stakeholders (e.g. domain experts) such as:

  • Executive sponsor
  • Finance
  • IT
PlaybookTip_Icon.pngPlaybook Tip:  Five questions your business case should answer

  1. What are the goals?
  2. What are the business challenges to achieving the goals?
  3. What is needed to overcome the challenges?
  4. Are you certain, the solution will solve the business challenges?
  5. Do you have evidence to support your assumptions?

Don't have time to write a business case? 

In some cases, you might not have the time or resources to put together a thorough business case for your digital workplace. If you're in a situation where developing a business case simply isn't feasible, we recommend that you build use cases instead. 

The Building Blocks

Key building blocks of a business case

We recommend keeping your business case (or use case) simple and precise. Using the following three documents to articulate your case, you'll be able to appeal to different executives and stakeholder groups to ensure the purpose, impact, and value of your digital workplace project is communicated accurately and effectively:

  1. Business Case
  2. Executive Presentation
  3. Financial Model
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Business case document

This is your actual business case. It outlines the reason(s) why you are proposing a digital workplace for your organization. Key components of your digital workplace business case should include:

  • Executive summary

  • Overview 
    • Business challenges (use cases and potential solutions)
    • Key benefits (value)
    • Goals and objectives
    • Desired outcomes and KPIs
    • Risk mitigation
  • Technical requirements 
    • Integrations 
    • Authentication protocol
    • Data migration  
  • Approach 
    • Implementation (timelines, budget)
    • Resource/Staffing plan 
    • Governance plan
    • Success plan (Assessment)
  • Conclusion

A business case is typically in the format of a Word document. Include a cover sheet, table of contents and references.

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Executive presentation

This is your "pitch deck" for the executive team. It provides a high-level summary of:

  • Business challenges
  • Key goals
  • Objectives
  • Outcomes
  • Timelines
  • Risks
  • Alternatives (if applicable)
  • Resourcing and costs

An executive presentation is typically in the format of a PowerPoint presentation. Don't forget to include your notes and aim for no more than 10 slides. Keep it simple and precise.

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Financial analysis

The goal of your financial analysis is to summarize both the costs and the measures of success of your digital workplace project. It is impossible to measure success without some form of predetermined results. Results can be obtained in a variety of ways like number of logins, engagement levels, time spent on the site, surveys, etc. What matters most is that you determine what success looks like, and how to prove it was achieved. 

It should provide a summary of all expected costs associated with the project and potential revenue increases and/or cost reductions. Think about creating a sample budget and cost/benefit analysis for your digital workplace initiative.

Include costs such as:

  • Staffing and resourcing
  • Software licenses
  • Professional services
  • Marketing and promotion
PlaybookTip_Icon.pngPlaybook Tip: Leverage online financial tools

When building your business case, you can use online financial tools wherever possible to showcase the costs vs. value of your digital workplace solution, such as: 


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