Document outline Business Case for project name
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Introduction This document outline provides guidelines on the typical contents that should be included in a business case. Business cases are prepared for a whole host of different investments in a variety of industries and markets. This document covers the standard contents that should be included in a business case concerned with investments in new or improved products, services or processes.
Typical contents Introduction Business objectives Strategic fit High level business and technical requirements Options considered and recommended solution Scope Business benefits Assumptions Constraints Costs and budgets Proposed timescales Risk management Investment appraisal Detail to be included in each section
Introduction The introduction should describe the purpose of the document and the background to the business case â€“ what business conditions have triggered the need for the business case and the current position of the business.
Business objectives This section should define the business objectives, (e.g. expand market share through new channels, eliminate waste in processes) that are required by the business case â€“ such objectives should be SMART. Included in this section should be the critical success factors and how they are to be measured.
Strategic fit Here the link between the business case and the strategic objectives of the organisation must be spelt out. Most strategic objectives come down to two main aims - increase revenue and reduce costs for commercial organisations, and improve customer service levels and reduce costs for government and non-commercial organisations. Therefore the business case must show how it contributes to the strategic objectives of the organisation.
High level business and technical requirements Here the business requirements and any technical requirements, (if it is an IT related investment or a new facility or product investment) should be highlighted. The business Date Pagination Version no.
and technical requirements should be expressed as outcomes. For example, if the business case is for a new call centre with appropriate technology to ensure faster customer service, the business case should identify the number of service seats required, the type of information to be fielded by the call centre, the skills and abilities required by the staff, the response times to be provided for customers and the technology architecture required to meet organisational standards.
Options considered and recommended solution This section should outline the options that have been considered with a SWOT analysis relating to the critical success factors highlighted in the Business objectives section. Included in the options should be a consideration of the costs and benefits of each option, the risks associated with each option and alternative delivery methods for the various options. The options should be ranked by a set of pre-determined criteria against which a recommendation should be made.
Scope The scope of the project around which the business case is built should be summarised with a view taken of the range of scope (minimum to maximum) possible and how it will satisfy the business need. The areas that are out of scope should also be highlighted. For instance, in the case of a project designed to handle legislative changes that impact most but not all European countries, the countries that are excluded from scope should be listed.
Business benefits The range of benefits that will be derived from implementing the project should be highlighted. Benefit areas include: financial benefits such as increased revenue, reduced cost, regulatory benefits such as compliance with legislation, environmental factors operational benefits such as improved process efficiencies, better data quality soft benefits such as improved working conditions for staff, increased customer satisfaction levels.
Assumptions The assumptions used in the preparation of the business case need to be recorded. Assumptions around costs, benefit calculations and resource availability should be included in this section.
Constraints The main constraints to be taken into account regarding the achievability of the project should be summarised - such as the willingness of senior management to absorb fundamental business change, the affordability of the proposals, existing contractual commitments that may impinge on the ability to implement some of the business case proposals.
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Costs and budgets Estimates of the whole lifetime costs of the project should be included highlighting the schedule of costs over the project period. The costs should, as a minimum, be categorised into capital and revenue costs. There should be a clear indication of the intended sourcing for each budget category, i.e. which part of the organisation is funding the cost elements.
Proposed timescales The proposed timescales should be included, showing any project phasing and the main milestones in each phase, together with the main points at which approval is required to progress from one phase to the next. Any major dependencies should be highlighted, (e.g. interfaces with other projects).
Risk management The main risks relating to the proposals should be identified with some analysis of the probability of each risk occurring and the impact should it occur. At this stage an outline plan for how the risks are to be mitigated should be included.
Investment appraisal This section should show (preferably by means of a graph or similar visual aid) a year on year payback profile, with costs and benefits and the point at which payback will occur.
Outputs and outcomes The output from this process, is a business case document. It is expected that the business case will then go through an approval process specific to the organisation and will be rejected, approved, or approved subject to agreed modifications. The outcome following approval is dependent upon the specific organisational processes but is likely to be followed by the production of a business plan.
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