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A Business Case Kicks An ROI’s Ass Every Time


Razbolo! Apparently, it’s one of the worst swear words in the entire universe. I learned it watching a movie with my five-year-olds. They found the word hysterical. The picture was about a visit to Earth by agents of a constantly warring alien bug planet who morph into human form to learn more about our peaceful culture. One of the visitors gets a job as nanny for two children with traveling parents. True to genre, one of the kids is turned into a bug.

What do bugs and aliens have to do with ROI? I suggest that anything less than a business case in support of a funding request is an alien idea… and that should bug you. Bet your razbolo on it!

Really Make Your Case

There’s a truism in software sales: projects sell software. And here’s another: buyers (aka decision makers) are quick to ask for ROI. Buyers know the executives they approach to green-light their project or initiative will ask for an ROI.

Those funding executives may ask for an ROI, but what they really want to understand is “what is the business case?” A business case is a comprehensive explanation of who you are, what you intend to do, how you will measure success, and why it’s worth doing. A business case is about persuasion. It aggregates persuasive information to justify a funding commitment in a practical, actionable format. The fact is, return-on-Investment (ROI) analysis is merely one, measurable element to include in a comprehensive business case (or funding request).  The building blocks of an effective use case or funding request include:

  • An overview of your competency
  • Your methodology for defining and measuring success
  • Shiny Stuff – sizzle, passion, emotion, sensation
  • Parameters – Time, scope, risks, and costs to the business

Demonstrate Competency: Name The Dragons You’ve Slain

The overview of competency explains why the team is qualified to execute and deserves to own the initiative. The explanation should have three parts: a resume describing team member’s prior successes, a portfolio of your vendor’s successes and references, and a history of similar sorts of projects both internal and external.

A portfolio containing information about the sponsor’s experience in other projects is vital. Demonstrate competency of the internal team as well as the external resources needed for the project. Showcase recent and or relevant successes. The goal is to build credibility for the team members, highlighting wins on similar projects or in similar industries. Third-party analysis can provide instant validation as well as meaningful industry benchmarks and targets too. It is a lot easier to approve funding for someone with a history of success or for a program that resembles a similar successful program.

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