In “Building Better Business Cases for IT Investments”, Ward, Daniels, and Peppard (2008) address the need for a comprehensive and effective approach to creating business cases for IT investments. The authors argue that many organizations struggle to justify IT investments because their business cases are often incomplete or lack strategic focus.
The paper begins by discussing the importance of a strong business case for IT investments, which should include a clear articulation of the business need, an analysis of potential solutions, and a justification of the investment. The authors suggest that a strong business case is necessary to ensure that IT investments are aligned with business objectives, have clear benefits and risks, and are financially feasible.
To help organizations build better business cases for IT investments, the authors propose a five-step process that includes:
- Establish the business context: Define the business problem or opportunity that the IT investment aims to address and clarify the strategic context in which the investment will be made.
- Identify potential solutions: Evaluate various options for addressing the business problem or opportunity, including IT and non-IT solutions.
- Evaluate options: Assess each potential solution based on criteria such as cost, benefits, risks, and alignment with business objectives.
- Develop the business case: Construct a compelling and complete business case that outlines the chosen solution, its benefits, risks, costs, and financial feasibility.
- Present the business case: Effectively communicate the business case to stakeholders and decision-makers, including a clear explanation of the problem, the chosen solution, and the anticipated outcomes and benefits.
The authors emphasize the importance of aligning the business case with organizational strategy, ensuring that the investment supports the organization’s mission and objectives. They also stress the need for ongoing evaluation and monitoring of IT investments to ensure that they continue to deliver value and remain aligned with changing business needs.
Overall, the authors’ five-step process provides a practical and comprehensive approach to building effective business cases for IT investments that can help organizations make informed decisions and achieve their strategic objectives.