The business case is a decision-making tool and a call to action!
A business case is a compelling argument that informs and seeks a decision from a decision-maker to take some form of action.
A decision-maker should expect that a good business case:
- Provides business assurance – ie are we are doing the right things? There should be a compelling case for change. I need to know all feasible options have been identified, robustly appraised and that the recommended solution optimises value for me and my stakeholders.
- Provides delivery assurance – ie can we do the right things well? For the preferred solution, the case needs to convince me that the planning for successful delivery is well-developed and the risks to meeting my objectives will be well-managed.
- Provides financial assurance – ie can we afford it? I need to know if the preferred solution is affordable, where the funding gaps are and any commitments from funders to fill these gaps.
My business case:
- doesn’t have to be about capital funding. The decision could be to deliver a new service by reallocating existing operating funding, voluntary labour or natural resources.
- doesn’t have to be about funding change. It could be to seek approval to continue what we are doing currently.
- does need to be fit for purpose for the decision being sought. The decision usually involves trade-offs between competing choices. If these choices are relatively simple, the risks are low and/or the scale of the investment is small, then the amount of analytical effort should be scaled appropriately.
Better Business Cases is a flexible business case development process that enables us to better inform a wide range of investment decisions by providing assurance to support better decisions and better delivery. It provides us with a systematic framework based around asking and answering five key questions:
- Is there a compelling case for change from the status quo?
- What is the preferred solution that optimises value (for money)?
- Is the preferred solution attractive to suppliers (and to us)?
- Is the preferred solution affordable? From either our own resources or from other investors?
- Is the preferred solution achievable? Can we successfully deliver the preferred solution to achieve our objectives?