Business Case: The Purpose and Benefit

By Bob Larrivee posted 12-06-2012 05:56



Many of us have heard of or have faced the need to produce a business cases, especially for an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) project. While this is a typical request in many organizations there may not be a clear understanding of the purpose and benefit of a business case other than trying to identify costs but there is more to it than that for example a business case serves the purpose of but is not limited to the following:

  • Shows how the ECM program supports business strategy
  • Gains senior management support and funding
  • Provides clear outline of options
  • Makes clear recommendations
  • Describes how to measure success and benefits

In essence it is a communication tools used to generate support for and acceptance of your project but it should not stop there. Your business case as the last bullet shows, should also define success and the benefits gained as well as how these will be measured. This means that once the project is approved and underway, you should refer back the to business case for reference as a tool to ensure your project is and remains aligned to meet the goals and deliver the success and benefits presented.

In my view, this is one area where many organizations fall short in that once the project is approved and funding acquired, the business case is placed on a shelf and never referenced again. This is not only a bad practice but in fact could come back in the future as a challenge to additional projects you may want to move forward and could cause you to lose focus to a point where your project falls off track and you lose support.

Always use the business case as your point of reference to ensure success is met, use the information to present the results to the team and management, and claim success using real figures which in turn will increase your credibility within the organization, increase confidence in ECM use and more easily gain support for future projects. 

If you are ready to move forward and are finding yourself stuck or unfocused and are not sure where to begin or what to do next, seek professional assistance and/or training to get you started. Be sure to investigate AIIM's Enterprise Content Management training program.

And be sure to read the AIIM Training Briefing on ECM (authored by yours truly). Click on the image to download and read.

What say you? Do you have a story to tell? What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you have a topic of interest you would like discussed in this forum? Let me know.

Bob Larrivee, Director and Industry Advisor – AIIM
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