Looking for an easy-to-use template on how to write a business case?
Our business analyst team uses the following template when helping clients with their projects.
If you’re new to business analysis or have been asked to scope out the viability of a business, then the following template might be for you.
What does the business case template contain?
It provides you with the structure you need to describe four main areas:
- Business Need – what is the specific need or gap in the market you are trying to target? Describe the business need that the project will address, for example, a new call center required to support customers requiring technical support.
- Anticipated Outcomes – describe the anticipated outcomes of implementing the project that addresses the business issue. Examples of outcomes should include answers to questions such as, “What are our aims?”, “How to define success factors?” and “What are the expected benefits?”
- Justification – describe why this project should be implemented and the rationale for why it was selected over other alternative solutions. Summarize key quantitative and qualitative information, including a description of the impact of not implementing the project.
- Critical Success Factors – describe and list the project’s critical success factors. Determine how success will be measured, for example, the percentage take-up of new services over [X] years.
What’s the Structure of the Business Case template?
We like to keep things simple. If you look at other sites, you’ll notice that they sometimes use different terminology, phrasing, and buzzwords. I think this just confuses things as you have to unravel or research what they mean and then apply it to your situation.
For that reason, we’ve based this template on what we use ourselves on client projects. The layout is easy to follow, structured in a logical manner, with appropriate formatting, so you can get the information you need as quickly as possible.
Here’s the Table of Contents of the Business Case.
1 Executive Summary
1.1 Business Need
1.2 Anticipated Outcomes
1.4 Critical Success Factors
2 Governance and Analysis Team
2.2 Business Case Team Members
3 Current Position
3.1 Current Process & Services
3.2 Current Technology Environment
3.2.1 Current Software
3.2.2 Current Hardware
4 Future Process
4.1 Process Description
4.2 Performance Measures
4.3 Proposed Technology Environment
4.3.1 Methodology For Technology Selection
4.3.2 Statutory Fulfillment
4.3.3 Strategic Alignment
4.3.4 Alternatives Analysis
4.3.5 Appropriateness of Technology
4.3.6 Proposed Software
4.3.7 Proposed Hardware
5 Expected Risks
6 Expected Benefits
7 Change Analysis
8 Cost Estimate
9 Cost/Benefit Analysis
10 Project Schedule
10.1 Project Milestones
11.1 Glossary of Terms
11.2 Acronyms and Abbreviations
Tutorials on How to Write a Business Case
At this point, you’re probably thinking, ‘Ok, that’s fine but how do I write the actual business case? Do you have any guidelines or samples?’
Yes, we do!
In this tutorial, we describe how to structure a business case study, typically the type of document that will form part of a marketing effort.
First, explore the Business Needs as this drives the Business Case. Looking at it from this angle helps justify why there is a need to perform this task. Let’s look at a typical example.
Your business case will identify the benefits you expect to gain by undertaking a project. Define business benefits in measurable terms as metrics are the cornerstone of any effort to deliver quantifiable value.
Looking for funding for a new project but not sure where to start? One way to get the funding you need is to create a Business Case. This outlines the benefits, competitive edge, and other gains the company stands to make if it invests in this project. For certain projects, the Business Case is a fore-runner for a Request For Proposal (aka Invitation To Tender) where business proposals are accepted from external firms.
There are two ways to write your first Business Case. If you have enough knowledge, you can write the Business Case and send it to the Project Stakeholders for sign-off. For more complex business analysis activities, you may need to write the Business Case with other team members by tapping into their expertise to write sections that use their respective strengths.
One of the differences between what they teach kids in high school these days and what I was taught is… business writing skills. When I went to school we studied Macbeth, Lord of the Flies, John Donne and Yeats. Wonderful stuff but not much use when you got into the real world.
Before you put your hands on the keyboard and start typing, ask yourself:
- Specific – what’s the one thing I want this person to understand?
- Response – what’s the response I want from this person?
- Incentive – what incentive can I give this person to reply as fast as possible?