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Handy way to create a compelling business case for IT

This a quick handy way to create a compelling business case for your IT projects or new technology’s that you think your company would like.

This method is taken from Mark McDonald article on Gartner and modify slighty to suit my needs, the orignal article can be found here Business value is in your hand – the five questions to ask to create a compelling case for change.

My interpretation with example can be found below.

First Assign a question to each finger of your hand this is a quick way to remember the information required to build a compelling business case.

These questions are

What is the issue? – The answer to this question is the problem that is happening (what’s wrong) or the opportunity you are missing (what needs to happen, that is not happening) that your project or technology will address. this represents the start of the business case and the source of value.  This question acts like the index finger pointing out the direction of the business case.

User base is having trouble with off-line files not syncing when joining the network

When does it happen? – The answer to this question describes the situation or circumstances when the issue comes up.  This question acts like the middle finger.  Expressed alone, saying that a problem happens creates only disturbance and distress.  Used in combination with the index finger (what) it makes the ‘peace’ sign that shapes the landscape of the business case.

At least once when they log in the morning or off at night when users are moving between locations

Who is impacted? – expressed in terms of the specific customers/operating groups/suppliers that feel the issue.  Addressing who gives you a target audience, a way for the people reading your business case to  visualize the issue and help determine what success looks like if this business case is approved. This is the ring finger with the sign of success in the wearing of the wealth created by serving others.

Most of the user base is effected this includes the CIO, IT Management teams and general managers

How often does it happen? – the frequency of the issue determines the scale of its potential value. This is good place to put in any other information you may want to reference from your own helpdesk system (calls,logs or time work sheets).    The more frequently it happens, the greater the value potential and more importantly the potential for the problem to be solved in a meaningful way.   The pinky or little finger represents frequency, why I am not really sure.

At least once a day or couple times a day depending on customers movements.

What is the cost of the issue? – this seems to be the most obvious, like the thumb, and therefore can easily dominate your attention.  Expressed in terms of the cost to correct a problem in both man hours and costs, the revenue, or customer satisfaction etc. This is also a good place to put any graphs you may have to back up the business case, which can also be used to show what could be missed if they do not approve your business case. This is the thumb without it makes grasping the problem harder.

Creates at least fifteen minutes delay when logging on and off per day per user resulting in lost man hours and increasing operation costs (included charts that show time chart, costs) if this problem corrected then we would see a marked increase in customer satisfaction (included charts/graphs that show customer satisfaction) and a reduction in helpdesk calls (graph showing helpdesk calls and which ones are based on your business case)

remember the import rule when building any business case.

Business cases that focus only on the thumb – the cost – without consideration of the other fingers and their questions.  It is easy to think of the thumb, as that is what the CFO is asking about.  Thumbs are easy to describe, particularly in terms of financial figures, which are the lagging indicators rather than the situations that are the leading indicators of future performance.

Categories: How To, Technology
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