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 the best tool to help you to articulate your value proposition to key stakeholders including:

  • Ensure necessary support in the organization and set clear business objectives.
  • Provide 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 can be a daunting task. It requires planning and a solid framework which appeals to your executive team and/or sponsor. Depending on your organization, it can vary from simple to complex. Generally, you need a business case to justify the resources or expenditures required to support a project. 

Who should write the business case? 

Typically, the project owner will write 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

When building your business case, you need to answer five simple questions:

  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

Not all business or use cases are the same. Each depends on many different factors such as the type of organization and complexity of the project. We recommend keeping it simple and precise using three supporting documents to articulate your case:

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

Executive presentation

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

  • Business challenges
  • Key goals
  • Objectives
  • Outcomes
  • Timelines
  • Risks
  • Alternatives
  • Resourcing and costs

An executive presentation is typically in the format of a PowerPoint presentation. Don't forget to include your notes and it shouldn't be no longer than ten pages. Keep it crisp and precise.


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 business case should include:

  • Executive summary
  • Business challenges
  • Key benefits
  • Goals & objectives
  • Key Outcomes
  • Resource/Staffing plan 
  • Governance plan
  • Success plan
  • Risk Mitigation
  • Timelines 
  • Budget 
  • Alternatives
  • Conclusion

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


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.png Playbook 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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