Definition

Business case analysis and a business case guide

Part of the Business terms glossary:

A business case is an argument, usually documented, that is intended to convince a decision maker to approve some kind of action. The strength of the business case is every bit as important as the value inherent in the project. If you cannot demonstrate the project’s value to the company, that value may not be understood. And if the project’s value to the company is not understood, your proposal is unlikely to be approved.

A business case document should follow a fairly standard format that is relevant to any type of project. (See our guide: How to write a business case document.) However, there are particular considerations for different types of business cases. We’ve collected our content for various areas of IT, to help you prepare a compelling business case specific to your needs. We’ve included links to our definitions of related terms in each area to help you make the perfect business case and get the go-ahead on your project.

 

 TABLE OF CONTENTS

Business intelligence / business analytics

Cloud

Customer relationship management (CRM)

Data management 

Manufacturing 

Networking and communications 

Security 

Software 

Storage / Backup & recovery 

Virtualization 

 

Business intelligence / business analytics

Building a midmarket business intelligence business case: key steps 
Getting broad business buy-in is vital to building a business case for a midmarket BI project, according to analysts and BI pros. And that requires getting business users engaged, they say.

Content analytics business case requires user education, clear goals
There can be a large educational component to the content analytics business case because the technology is unfamiliar ground for many people.

How to build a business case for master data management
IT departments need to be all business when requesting funding for master data management (MDM). Learn how to build a business case for MDM systems and resources.

Business case for real-time BI tools rests on data-access speed needs 
Justifying investments in real-time business intelligence systems depends on demonstrating the business value of faster decision-making capabilities, according to analysts and IT pros.

Information governance's next frontier: social media data
According to analysts, companies should take their cues from the internal business case for using social networks to determine how far to push information governance oversight.

Tips for building a business case for master data management
Get more tips on building a business case for master data management technology and programs in this podcast with Ventana Research's David Stodder.

Making the business case for data modeling tools
The need to document an increasingly complex data warehouse implementation meant that Omaha Public Power District's IT crew needed to purchase a new set of graphical data modeling tools. Read about -- and learn from -- their experience.

Building the business case for an information governance process
Articulating a general business case for an information governance program can be tough -- especially when you have to explain that governance efforts never really end. Get expert advice on how to build the business case for an information governance process and program.

IBM explains how to make the case for a data governance program in 2012
The director of information governance for IBM’s software group, Sunil Soares, explains how to make the business case for data governance despite ongoing economic concerns.

Making the business case for an enterprise data warehouse
An enterprise data warehouse (EDW) is the best solution for business intelligence. The EDW provides comprehensive and timely information meeting the requirements of all levels of executives, management, and all knowledge workers throughout the organization who use information to make decisions.

Creating a business case for ECM puts priority on organizational needs 
Before evaluating enterprise content management software, be sure to assess business requirements and build them into your business case, users and analysts say.

Related definitions: business analytics (BA), business intelligence (BI),  

 

Cloud

How a CIO made a business case for a cloud computing solution
A cloud computing solution at Harvard Medical School illustrates the need for CIOs to articulate the business case and bring everyone into the process.

Building a strategy for a move from Exchange to cloud-based email
You’ve got to make a solid business case for moving to cloud-based email services, and there are many considerations to weigh. But where do you start?

Case study: How a small business can benefit from SaaS 
At the recent launch of cloud-based Office 365, Microsoft spoke of offering IT products for small businesses, allowing them to take advantage of the IT normally reserved for large enterprises.

Developing your cloud business model: A primer for cloud providers 
Cloud business models are numerous, but providers must weigh the benefits, risks and ROI of the cloud services they roll out, from SaaS, PaaS and IaaS to combo models.

Beating cloud security pessimists: The case for VM security 
Moving from internal infrastructure to the public cloud has its risks, but the potential rewards are great. Some people avoid the cloud altogether because they say cloud security can’t be trusted. That’s an overly simplistic position that can be easily defeated.

Cloud case studies: Data storage pros offer first-hand experiences 
SearchCloudStorage.com has compiled a list of popular cloud case studies that showcase various implementation strategies.

Meeting performance standards and SLAs in the cloud
The business case for cloud computing will be based on some expected range of availability and performance, and that's what the SLA must address.

 

Customer relationship management (CRM)

Remote call center agents: Building a business case
Remote call center agents allow companies to tap into a broad, under-utilized pool of high-quality agents with a low turnover rate. Learn about the benefits of remote call center agents in this business case.

SaaS and on-demand CRM: Building a business case
Before purchasing Software as a Service (SaaS) or on demand CRM, companies should complete an ROI analysis. Learn what you need to know to build a compelling business case for SaaS and on-demand CRM.

Building a business case for self-service
According to experts, interest in self-service technology is growing, despite the down economy and cuts in spending. Get tips for building a business case for self-service and using self-service technology effectively in this expert podcast.

Web self service: Building a business case
If you can get users to help themselves, you can lower the overall cost of taking orders, responding to questions and sending out bills. But along with the straightforward benefits, there are a few issues to address before you can create a credible, sustainable business case for Web self service.

Tips for making the business case for CRM analytics – and what can be gained
Using CRM analytics is a popular trend, but it’s important to make a solid business case for bringing it into a CRM environment. Learn what to expect and how to develop a business plan for CRM analytics.

Social CRM demands a solid business case
The social Web can be an unforgiving place for the unwary business. Learn how to build a business case for socialCRM and read about the blunders some businesses have made.

 

Data Management

Data deduplication technology: The business casefor dedupe
What are you trying to solve with deduplication technology? This should be the first question asked.

MDM tools business case secrets
MDM tools can streamline data management totally. Use these smart tips to effectively pitch the business case for MDM tools investment to top management.

Building a business case for data modeling
A business case for data modeling requires using the levers of better data quality, improved applications and reduced data management costs.

Creating a business case for ECM puts priority on organizational needs
Before evaluating enterprise content management software, be sure to assess business requirements and build them into your business case, users and analysts say.

Public-sector case studies: Building a strong MDM business case
How are government agencies implementing MDM and CDI? Learn about some public-sector case studies and why you should design a strong MDM business case.

With business case in place, ECM project management takes center stage
Get advice on project management dos and don’ts for deploying an enterprise content management system that can deliver on the promises of an approved ECM business case.

ECM business case requires sharp focus on end-user needs, concerns
Get advice on how to ensure end-user acceptance of an enterprise content management system, starting with the process of building a business case for a proposed ECM project.

Building a business case for an ECM system deployment: ECM ROI drivers
Find out what you should consider when assessing an enterprise content management system’s potential ROI as part of the process of building an ECM business case.

Using data quality metrics to build a data quality business case
Get expert tips on calculating data quality metrics to document the financial impact of poor data quality and help build a business case for a data quality improvement program.

Building a customer data integration business case: Project specifications
Building a customer data integration business case requires some basic knowledge of the project's scope and specifications. Our CDI expert discusses general expectations for CDI implementation times and costs.

Building a data quality business case: Issues with poor data quality
If you're trying to build a data quality business case, make sure you know common issues caused by poor data quality. Tips and advice from a project management expert.

Building a business case for SAP data archiving
Successfully implementing SAP raises the concern of managing the massive amounts of data collected. Get tips on how to build a business case for SAP data archiving.

 

Manufacturing

Building a business case for lean implementation 
Introducing lean thinking to your staff means explaining what lean does and how it will help your business. Identifying your goals, explaining the concepts of kaizen and kanban and setting up lean training programs are all parts of building a business case for lean implementation.

Guide to building a manufacturing ERP business case 
ERP software can greatly enhance productivity and reduce costs in manufacturing environments. Before investing in manufacturing ERP software, you need to evaluate your business needs and capabilities. Find out how to get started in this guide to building manufacturing ERP business case.

Building a business case for PLM
Product Lifecyle Management (PLM) can be a smart investment for manufacturers. Learn how to build a PLM business case, perfect a PLM strategy and assemble your PLM team.

The business case for point of sale systems relies on improved inventory, lower transportation costs
Point of sale (POS) systems can improve demand forecasting and inventory optimization. The ROI can be huge, but it demands a strong business case to justify the hassle and expense.

Making a business case for BI in manufacturing
Manufacturers building a case for a business intelligence (BI) deployment face unique challenges because the argument for deploying BI doesn't always translate well to a environment linking shop floor data with spreadsheets and data historians.

 

Networking and communications

Integrating wired and wireless LANs: Making the business case
Lisa Phifer offers a tip on making the business case for wired/wireless LAN integration.

WAN optimization
Wide area network optimization increases data throughput and cuts response times, to enable system consolidation and enhance employee productivity. This podcast offers strategic advice for CIOs who are evaluating the business case for WAN optimization.

Building a business case for a hospital UC system 
IT managers face an uphill battle convincing hospital CFOs that ripping out their old phone system and replacing it with a unified communications (UC) system will actually save money.

Business case for the connected enterprise
Clive Longbottom, founder of analyst house, Quocirca, assesses the business benefits of extending the corporate network to support collaborative applications.

Building the business case for a server refresh
As IT managers consider a server refresh, they need to create a solid business case for replacing hardware. Here’s how to garner support for the project.

 

Security

Analysis: Intelligence key to security business case 
Information security is becoming an increasingly important part of any business as the value of information assets continually grow, as do the threats from cyber crime and espionage.

New metric could help IT build business case for security investment
Security and data protection are consistently under-funded and under-staffed, according to studies by the Ponemon Institute. This is because any potential investment has to be justified and pass budget approval hurdles, which typically require IT managers to show a return on investment (ROI).

MGH security director on making the security business case
Bonnie Michelman, security chief for Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses making the security business case to executives.

The business case for enterprise password management 
Spyro Malaspinas discusses the importance of enterprise password management and how your business can benefit from implementing good identity management practices.

ICO calls for input on privacy business case
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) plans to develop a model business case to help public and private sector organizations justify and implement privacy protection in their business processes and systems.

Buyers guide: A business case for network security 
Governments giving regulators the power to levy ever greater fines on organizations that fall short of requirements may not seem to be much cause for celebration, but perhaps UK-based IT security managers can find a silver lining in the Information Commissioners Office's (ICO) newly granted powers.

 

Software

Three steps to building a SharePoint 2010 business case 
Because of the stories that surround SharePoint 2010 implementations that have gone awry, experts say it is critical to carefully develop a solid case for SharePoint 2010 adoption.

Building a business case for sustainability software 
Vendors keep pushing the business benefits of sustainability -- but do you need sustainability software to support an initiative?

Find sweet spots for business process automation
The extended economic downturn is driving all of us to wring as much cost as possible from our processes. This has created an opportunity to automate as many business processes as possible. But what types of processes are the best candidates for business process automation (BPA)?

Making the case for enterprise Linux 
Linux is free, and that is the main reason behind the success of Linux. But Linux users will tell you, it’s "free as in free speech, not as in free beer." There is big business behind Linux and money to be made on Linux and open source for channel solution providers.

Making the business case for migrating from Unix to Linux
Learn how to present the business case for making a Unix to Linux migration. What are the shortcomings of Unix and what are the advantages of Linux?

Enterprise search engine business case relies on numbers – and more
Enterprise search engines should be the easiest technology to build the business case for and actually quantify the return on investment. It’s all about the numbers – but you have to know how to present them.

Making the business case for enterprise mashups
How do you get the business side to sign off on enterprise mashups? As Anthony Bradley from Gartner Research famously stated, “You can’t build a business case for enterprise mashups, [but] you can build specific mashup-centric business cases.”

SAP’s IT chiefs on how they build a business case for SAP projects
In this video, SAP CIO Oliver Bussmann and Martin Heisig, vice president of enterprise architecture, discuss share their tips for building a case for SAP-related projects.

Start the business case for marketing automation with savings, but complement it with revenue
A compelling business case for marketing automation software starts with savings and efficiencies but should also show revenue potential.

 

Storage / backup and recovery

Remote backup: Making the business case to your CEO
Remote backup plans are becoming a focus for CIOs as they staff more off-site workers and face continual compliance concerns.

The business case for storage networks
The Business Case for Storage Networks covers the problem of direct-attached storage (DAS) and the solutions offered by storage area networks.

 

Virtualization

Case studies show the benefits of virtualization 
These case studies demonstrate how businesses have deployed virtual machines to improve efficiency and add computing power, while also saving money.

How to make the business case for virtualization
This report will help you prove a business's fit with virtualization, and demonstrate cost savings and cost avoidance. Get a business case for virtualizing your environment.

Case Study: How RBS built a business case for virtual desktops to cut costs 
With an annual technology spend of £1.5b, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) wanted to move 55,000 of its users to a virtual desktop platform to change the way its employees work and cut costs. Mark Diamond, CIO at RBS, shares his lessons learnt in building a business case for virtual desktops and "tying down" suppliers.

Top five virtualisation case studies of 2011
Our recap of 2011's most popular case studies shows how other IT users conducted their virtualisation projects and all about their challenges and the efficiencies they achieved.

How to justify the business case for virtual desktop infrastructure licensing 
Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) technology can cut energy bills, increase business agility and improve mobile working flexibility. But licensing cost and complexity can wipe off the financial savings of VDI deployment.

This was last updated in January 2012
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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