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The readers of your business case may have a partial, out of date, or incorrect understanding of the relevant context and background to the business case – it may be useful to include this information to ensure everyone is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.

 The Understand your digital preservation readiness and early stages described in the Step-by-step guide to building a business case provide thoughts on how to research and capture useful contextual information.

A background and context section may include:

  • A description of current digital preservation capabilities. This may be qualitative or quantitative, or both. It could include details around staffing, systems, training, membership of professional organizations, accreditation and certification.

  • Work to date. This may include a description of previous relevant business cases, projects, policies, strategies, delivery of training and guidance, implementation of systems and workflows. Acknowledge what has worked well, what has not, and lessons learned. Highlight where investments in this area have seen good returns.

  • Scope of digital content. Explain at a high level what digital content is in scope and a summary of key characteristics. It may also be useful to explain what is not in scope, and why. This section could take the form of an appended table or diagram. Consider including:

    • what digital content is in scope for discussion

    • how it has changed and is projected to change over time (e.g. in format, scale, complexity)

    • what systems are used to create, manage and store the content

    • who creates it

    • who owns it - the "custodian"

    • how long it must be kept for

    • any relevant governance in place

  • Summary of a maturity modeling exercise. Identify your organization’s digital preservation maturity using the DPC Rapid Assessment Model. This data can also be used as a baseline for establishing or measuring changes in capacity or maturity post implementation of the business case.

  • Explain how digital preservation relates to your existing mission, strategy, and policy documents. This will help to demonstrate that you understand your organization’s responsibilities, requirements and drivers. Establishing that these implicitly or explicitly require an improvement in digital preservation capacity/maturity will be useful in making your case.

  • Identification of key stakeholders. Describe the key staff, committees/groups, users/customers, and other stakeholders who will be affected by your business case. This could include digital preservation specialists, IT staff, project management staff, procurement staff, steering groups, creators and users of digital content, and partner institutions. This could take the form of a diagram or table.

  • Describe headline disasters, risks, and missed opportunities relating to digital content at your organization. The risks and missed opportunities may have already been identified by colleagues, external audits, customers/users, and other stakeholders. These could include previous data loss, reputational damage or legal damage due to poor digital preservation practice at your institution. There may also be examples where good digital preservation practice has previously “saved the day”, minimized the impact of a risk or issue, or protected your organization’s reputation. Note any changes in the external context of your digital preservation work, such as changing stakeholder expectations, societal shifts, or national and international developments. 

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