Outline of an effective business case – IT example

This example outline uses the familiar Situation, Complication, Question, Answer structure for business proposals.

The context is a large company in the finance industry implementing cloud technology for software development (referred to as virtual environments).

Note the power of ‘talking headings‘ – you’ll get the gist of the proposal just by reading these headings.

Executive summary

‘Virtual Environments’ open new opportunities

A transformational change plus tangible benefits

1 Situation: Solid technology underpins the business

1.1 Supporting a business with purposeful intent

1.2 Robust technology base

1.3 Sound controlled change methodology

2 Complication: Changing our technology is cumbersome

2.1 Shared and limited number of traditional environments

Development must be completed within a fixed window

Delays in one release impact future releases

Changes to one project impacts all other projects in the release

Production support is disrupted every release

Drives inflexible training schedules

2.2 Limited test data

Limited capability to back-up and restore test data

Old and unrealistic data compromises test confidence

2.3 Dependence on legacy platforms

Manual configuration results in delayed changes and increased variance

High costs of environments

3 Focusing question: How can we have rapid, yet robust, change?

3.1 How can we introduce change rapidly without losing control?

3.2 How can we provide data so that changes can be tested quickly and confidently?

3.3 Is there a way to allow projects to work at different rates?

3.4 How can we transform so that rapid change becomes ‘business as usual’?

4 Proposal: Modernise our IT environments and processes

4.1 Extend virtualised environments

Extend the application coverage to cover all organisational requirements

Decommission all traditional environments

Provide dedicated VEs for minor releases and production support

Provide dedicated VEs for training

4.2 Provide better test data management

Provide capability to backup and restore test data in non-production environments

Provide masked production type data

5 Cost/benefit: IRR of xx% and a payback period of yy years

5.1 Some benefits realised immediately, others gradually ramp up

5.2 If we ignore this opportunity, we’ll lose momentum

5.3 Strategically aligned to corporate objectives

6 Costs

6.1 Costs that can be estimated well

Data solution and extension of VEs across the organisation

6.2 Costs that cannot be estimated well

Extend VEs to include partner organisations

Impacts on the change delivery teams

7 Benefits

7.1 Benefits that cannot be estimated well

Improved business flexibility

Improved project quality and efficiency

Reduced reputation risk

Foundational build to support future delivery

Strategic capabilities for test data management

Reduced hardware spend

7.2 Benefits that can be estimated well

Avoiding the cost of provisioning new traditional environments

Avoiding the cost of new traditional environments to support large scale programs

Eliminating lost productivity and migration effort resulting from de-scoping

Decommission traditional environments

Eliminating minor release environment migration and lost productivity

Reduced retrofitting effort

8 What might raise costs or limit benefits?

8.1 Sensitivity analyses

Changes in cost estimates

Slow project progress

Limited project funding

Variable test data solution costs

8.2 Dependencies

Benefits are only realised if test data solution provided

Full realisation of benefits requires changing the way we work

8.3 Constraints

Satisfaction with current performance

8.4 Project risks

No change in mindset, so no organisational transformation

Partial implementation will reduce benefits and lead to ‘slip back’

Applications may require re-architecture

Additional non-functional re-architecture may be required

Hardware or software is procured unnecessarily by teams external to project

9 Appendices

9.1 Alternative solutions considered

9.2 How the project will be organised

9.3 How we gathered information

Bottom-up

Top-down

9.4 Industry trends

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