by CIO Staff

Making the Business Case for IT: Best Practices

Feb 01, 20042 mins
Business IT Alignment

Present the business case in two stages. First, produce a two-page outline. If this “mini business case” survives the first rounds of scrutiny, create a longer document that delves into cost-benefit details.

Develop a high-level time line with project milestones. Outline and describe strategies for dealing with and mitigating as many risk factors (including change management and market risks) as possible.

Outline three different scenarios (such as best case, worst case and most likely case), including cost, time line and ROI particulars of each.

Prepare a multifaceted ROI analysis, including a detailed breakdown of costs (for hardware, software, consulting, training, support and other costs) and cash flow throughout the lifecycle of the project.

Include soft benefits. Even if you cannot quantify the soft benefits, you should include them since intangibles often sway the outcome.

Identify the type of value the project will deliver. For example, project benefits could be categorized as cost reduction, revenue generation, competitive advantage, risk reduction or regulatory compliance. These categories give decision-makers context that aids in making their decision.

Take a portfolio approach. On an annual basis, work with senior management to set targets for IT project types (for example, 50 percent of projects will help run the business, 30 percent will help grow the business, and 20 percent will help transform the business.)