Top Tips for Building a Successful Business Case
— December 19th, 2016
Purchasing software can be laborious process, requiring alignment across a range of individuals and functions, but this can be made much easier by having a solid business case.
This post is intended to help you do just that: craft a compelling business case which will give you the best chance of obtaining the required approvals.
We’ve all been there before. Strolling through the supermarket when a conveniently positioned chocolate bar catches your eye. You know you don’t NEED it but you WANT it.
So you buy it, and there’s generally no consequences...well, apart from some self-administered guilt, perhaps…
Not so when it comes to purchasing software, simply because it can be relatively expensive and decisions are not usually made in isolation or on impulse.
Let’s take an internal communicator looking to make a software purchase. They have identified a problem that can be solved using technology to the benefit of their company. But it’s not that simple. Typically, the communicator will need to liaise with a range of functions (e.g. HR, marketing, IT, corporate comms) to understand how a technology purchase would impact them, before it would even be considered.
Eventually, the proposal lands at the feet of a decision maker(s). And invariably the same questions get asked:
- Why do we need this?; and
- Is this purchase a good use of our budget?
That’s where you need that rock solid business case.
How To Build a Business Case
A successful business case generally incorporates some variation of the 5 key points below. To help illustrate this I have included common examples from an IC perspective.
1. The Current Situation
Most business cases will start with a clear definition of the main challenges being faced along with a reference to the organizational impact of these challenges
E.g. ‘Employees are receiving too much internal content across different channels. This is reducing the impact of important internal updates and is detrimentally affecting employee productivity. Furthermore, we are unable to measure the effectiveness of employee communications.
2. The Promised Land
An overview of what the desired solution is: what are the requirements and what can be achieved in an ideal world?
E.g. ‘By opting to purchasing software purpose-built for IC, we can send relevant content to relevant employees and we can track employee engagement in real-time’
3. The Preferred Vendor
An overview of the recommended provider, including the reasons behind their preferred status.
E.g. ‘We choose Poppulo as they offer the best solution and come highly recommended. Their software has been created exclusively and specifically for internal communications, unlike others which are designed for Marketing or other areas of the business but, by default, end up being used in IC, despite their limitations.
4. The ROI
This should include a breakdown of the costs involved, along with an explanation as to why that represents a worthy investment
E.g. ‘By implementing this solution we expect to improve employee engagement with internal communication by 15% while reducing time spent preparing, reviewing and publishing content by over 1,000 man-hours per annum.
5. The Next Steps
An implementation plan that outlines the next steps involved to turn the proposal into reality
E.g. Sign off budget and commence project delivery (including timelines)
Building a Poppulo Business Case
While the above framework provides a recommended structure, every business case is different.
However, when it comes to building a business case to support a Poppulo implementation, there are some common themes that you can lean on:
It is worth highlighting the importance of effective internal communications. This may include some of the below points:
- Communication effectiveness is proven to have a direct correlation with company performance. According to Towers Watson, an organization with effective communication is 1.7 times more likely to outperform its peers.
- The importance of employee engagement: An engaged workforce delivers better employee retention, better profit growth and better customer loyalty (MacLeod, Clarke)
It's also important to clearly articulate why Poppulo is the preferred vendor. This may include some of the below points. However, it’s important to note that the relevant Poppulo benefits should be matched with your individual requirements
- Poppulo is the market-leading provider of software for the internal communications sector
- They are trusted by leading organizations across the globe for the past 20 years - including Barclays, Vodafone and Zurich.
- Poppulo has attained the ISO 27001 security standard.
What do you think the key to a successful business case is? We'd love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org