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Crafting a Business Case for IT Survival or New Projects: Part 1/2

Crafting a Business Case for IT Survival or New Projects: Part 1/2

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This is old news now! You can’t make an IT purchase or investment without a good justification for it. Making purchases merely for possessing the latest computing innovation is a retired theme. Unfettered, unplanned technology was considered the panacea to marketplace domination and growth. This concept ended with the dot com downturn from 2000 to 2003 and resulted in the squeeze on Information Technology (IT). Today, there must be real value returned to the business from IT projects.

With tightening budgets, how can an IT investment be justified? The answer lies in making a business case incorporating a comprehensive unified technology solution.

What would this look like? In this 2-part blog series, I will give some ideas to consider for “making your case”.

What are the vital elements to making a business case?

In making a business case for an IT project, you must encompass the core drivers behind business success. These ten drivers include:

  1. Providing high value and clear differentiation from the competition,
  2. Supporting a low operational cost advantage,
  3. Increasing productivity and efficiency,
  4. Finding areas of market focus,
  5. Extending reach into new markets,
  6. Enhancing and improving your service into existing markets,
  7. Reducing time to market for new products and services,
  8. Enabling collaboration internally within your organization and externally,
  9. Creating insight into relationships and business intelligence,
  10. Providing continual incremental innovation.

The technology has to be justified in these business terms and in meeting the strategic business goals. All of this must align with the vision and mission of the organization.

Specifically, what are examples of the business objectives that must be addressed?

A successful business or organization must generate real quantifiable value to their stakeholders which includes their employees, customers/clients, partners, suppliers, and shareholders or owners. This value must be clearly defined and measured with continuing adjustments for improvement. Moreover, in an increasingly connected world, a business must enable effective collaboration with internal and external networks thus maximizing relationship interaction in real time. Who wants to wait for: service, an answer to a query, a product delivery? Who wants a delayed project or inaction due to communication breakdown? With the advent of the internet and globalization, the competition can be next door and from another continent. The business must create differentiation in this competitive environment. How does the business separate itself from the crowd?

A business must be agile. That is, they must be continually aware of their internal and external environment and be able to select and then implement a business initiative quickly from an array of choices. In doing so, they are leveraging their strengths, and correcting their weaknesses to take advantage of new opportunities. These opportunities allow growth with new markets, new customers, or new products/services to existing customers. A business must also assess and mitigate threats including competitive forces. All this is done with an emphasis on productivity and efficiency improvements while managing operational costs and risk.

A technology investment has to be realized in faster time to market, instant response to customer needs, real-time anticipation of competitive threats, higher productivity, improved efficiency, and lower operational costs and risk.

Comments
  • In Part 1/2 of this series , I discussed the drivers behind business success and how IT must support

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