Template for building a Business Case

This section provides guidance on the content that will be useful to include in your business case, but it will likely need to be adapted to the structure used in your organization’s template.

Executive Summary

A concise and persuasive summary of the rationale for undertaking the proposed digital preservation work.

The Executive Summary highlights key elements of the longer business case, ensuring that the reader is made aware of the high-level aims and benefits of the work as well as outlining who is requesting the work. An effective Executive Summary should present this information in a clear and concise manner. 

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Problem Statement

A description of the issue, challenge or situation that the business case seeks to address.

The problem statement should outline the challenging aspects of the current situation and address why it is important that change is enacted (this will also feature in the section on risks). It should be written with the perspectives and concerns of those key stakeholders, and/or from the point of view of the beneficiaries of whatever investment is being proposed.

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Background and Context

The organizational context that provides a relevant background and supporting evidence to your business case.

The readers of your business case may have a partial, out of date, or incorrect understanding of the relevant context and background to the business case – it may be useful to include this information to ensure everyone is working from the same page. This is also an opportunity to demonstrate that you have properly researched and understood your organizational setting before asking for investment and change.

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A careful assessment of the potential approaches for addressing the problem statement, with a recommendation for the best option.

The amount of detail to include will depend on the size of the proposed project and the level of information typically expected within a business case at your organization. Some organizations use an explicit methodology for options appraisal, which may for example involve assessing implementation costs, ongoing costs and savings resulting from the investment.

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Implementation Plan

A description of the activities that will be undertaken if your business case is successful.

The necessity for an implementation plan will greatly depend on the format of your business case and the level of detail required by stakeholders. A plan can simply be an outline of the activities (which will ensure your proposal is implemented successfully) through to an in depth description of execution such as specific milestones, deadlines and targets.

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The benefits that will be delivered by the work outlined in your Implementation Plan.

The benefits section of your business case should identify and describe the financial and non-financial benefits of your digital preservation proposal that will justify the investment. A benefit is a measurable outcome of an action or decision that contributes towards reaching one or more of your organization’s objectives.

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The risks associated with the execution of the implementation plan if the case is funded and the risks faced by the organization if the case is not funded.

Identifying and understanding risks should be an important part of any organizational activity. Mitigating the risks identified through proactive management reduces the likelihood of them occurring and/or reduces their impact when issues do occur.

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Resourcing/Financial Analysis

A budget for implementing the activity outlined in the Implementation Plan.

Completing a project within the proposed budget is often regarded as one of the key success factors. So it is important to ensure that any financial information included in your business case is as accurate as possible, and that any proposed costs can be explained and justified.

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Cost/Benefit Analysis

An analysis of the benefits of each option minus the costs, indicating the best option to implement.

The purpose of including a cost/benefits analysis section is to demonstrate that sufficient consideration has been given either to alternative ways forward, or to taking no action at all.

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