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Is the IT 'Business Case' a Waste?

To secure approval for an IT project, many companies require you to write a business case outlining the financial and strategic benefits of the project as well as identifying risks and costs.

But the business case is often a game played by people guessing at numbers and prettying them up to meet their objectives. Business cases are a waste of time. At least that's the opinion of IT expert Susan Cramm, writing on Harvard Business Publishing.

Cramm says smart executives should use this document to create two things:

  • Clear Project Objectives "To define clear objectives, ensure that the objectives are defined in terms of impact to the core business driver."
  • Organizational Support "To build support, it's important to align the initiative to the overall strategic business objectives and to align the initiative to serve the selfish interests of the individuals who will be impacted most."
Cramm provides a very illuminating example from the restaurant industry on how to deconstruct company financial docs such as the P&L statement to identify business drivers upon which to build your case.

What are your keys to success to writing a great business case? Are a waste of time?

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