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03 Dec 2018

Why business cases have unintended consequences…

How do you get the best from your organization’s business cases?

It seems obvious enough. If you’re planning change of any kind, you need to know what you’re trying to achieve, and put in place the steps to get there.

Steps like agreed performance measurement criteria to track impact on the business. Engagement with all stakeholders involved in delivering the change. And transparent processes to evaluate chances of success, and make sure that the best cases move quickly through assessment and start to deliver great results.

So why do so many business cases result in unintended consequences?

The simple answer is that in many organizations the business processes underlying core business case activities – like case submission, assessment, approval and ongoing management – are failing to provide the right steps to ensure the right outcomes.

And just as worrying, there is sometimes a lack of focus on the impacts required. Many organizations have no ways to understand what the outcomes of each submitted case will look like.

Instead, business case processes are often inaccessible, unregulated, slow to progress, and difficult to evaluate.

Hardly surprising that so many business case impacts are in the lap of the gods!

Costly mistakes

Things can go wrong from the start. If each business case is presented with different document types, ROI calculations, and resource estimates, accurate assessment of potential outcome is well-nigh impossible.

Another problem is lack of visibility for stakeholders. The process is inevitably slowed down if assessors aren’t clear where the submitted case is in the approval process.

Ignorance of what’s going on can have even worse effects. There are scary stories about PMOs having little or no advance notice of a major business case coming down the track – until it arrives, approved, ready for project execution!

And if the PMO has no involvement in key business case measures such as resource requirements or risk evaluation, unintended consequences can be seriously costly.

Some of the reasons for these process failings are easy to understand. The sponsoring business unit might well be focused on its narrow objectives and targets, and wanting to make its business cases as compelling as possible.

Even if that means using its own financial metrics to make the cases favorable. Or ignoring project managers, who might not share the same zeal for the case submitted but can offer expert input.

Those real-life inter-department conflicts are exactly why business processes are so important. Organizations need to look at the big business picture. They need to base assessment of business cases on reality, not on narrow business unit targets, in order to deliver meaningful business impacts.

edison365businesscase

edison365businesscase responds to what organizations need. It optimises your business case processes to create the right outcomes for you.

edison365businesscase provides a consistent way to capture business case data. So all submitted cases can now be constructed using the same document types and measurement criteria. Standardization means outcomes are much more accurately assessed for each business case before they are approved, and investment costs compared with others.

Built on Microsoft Office 365, edison365businesscase also offers an intuitive interface to give everyone who needs it, organization-wide visibility of the business case management process.

This means financial and resourcing requirements, estimated returns, and target dates underlying each case are transparent to all stakeholders. So, the PMO has every opportunity to question assumptions, and input its expertise throughout.

End-to-end transformation

It also means that expected outcomes can be calculated more precisely, and projects can be managed with a clearer picture of the business impact.

Each stage up to approval is also accelerated, because there should no longer be delays in moving cases along the chain. Everyone can see where the business case is, and what the next action needs to be.

Part of the proven edison365 suite, edison365businesscase forms the critical link between edison365ideas and edison365project, and supports end-to-end business transformation.

It enables innovation and ideas from employees to be effectively evaluated before project implementation, and helps organizations devise business cases that not only deliver the planned business impact, but also deliver true transformation.

Contact us now to find out more.