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How to write a business case

What is a Case Study?

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Before you start writing your business case Creating a business case document is actually the last of several stages that must be completed before you present it. Throughout these stages, it may become apparent that the project is not currently feasible.

Essentially, you have to determine the business case for developing your business case. The first stage of preparation involves a thorough analysis of the situation that led to the initiative for the project.

These requirements might include time and human resources required and deadlines for return on investment ROI or for completion of the business case, project or project phases.

Next, you should identify all the sources of data that will be required to support the business case. These sources may include financial sources from within the company, case studies from similar projects, historical data, industry analysis and forecasts, demographic studies, and so on.

Based on all the inputs available, you should have an idea of how likely it is that the project will be approved. Use that determination to decide whether or not to go ahead and write the document. The executive summary The executive summary is a high-level view of the business case document.

It explains, in a condensed form and plain language, the problem that the proposed project is intended to solve, the major considerations, the resources required to complete the project, the desired outcome, the predicted return on investment and a projection of when that ROI should be achieved.

Because some stakeholders may only read the executive summary, it's crucial to include any information that is essential to an informed decision. Like the abstract on an academic article, the executive summary is presented at the first but written after the rest of the document is completed.

The problem statement This section is a straightforward articulation of the problem that the project is supposed to solve. It identifies the area or areas where there are issues that need to be addressed, such as inefficiencies, missed opportunities, unacceptable market performance or unfavorable consumer response to a product or service.

Analysis of the situation This section describes the situation behind the problem in more detail and how the situation came about. Finally, it provides general projections about potential events if the current situation continues. The conclusion of the analysis should lead naturally to the next section.

Solution options In this section, you identify potential solutions to the problem and describe them in sufficient detail for the reader to understand them. If, for example, the solution proposed is the implementation of desktop virtualization , you would define the term and discuss the use of the technology within your industry. For most problems, there are multiple solutions possible and you should explore all solutions that are potentially the best option.

Project description This section describes the project, including all the resources required for its implementation, the project budget and a timeline with measurable goals for all project milestones. List any assumptions that the reader should be aware of, such as, for example, that government regulations pertinent to the project will not change. You should also list any dependencies, such as completion of other projects or the availability of key individuals.

Note any risks involved with the project and briefly sketch a plan for dealing with them. In the budget section, include financial projections for relevant metrics such as ROI and total cost of ownership TCO. You should also include a figure -- usually an additional percent of the total -- for scope creep. Identify and describe all stages of the project, including a post-project review.

Include measurable criteria to determine the success of the project. Cost-benefit analysis This section evaluates the costs and benefits for all options, including the proposed solution to the problem and any likely alternatives -- which include, of course, taking no action at all. Illustrate your case with data from similar projects and case studies, if possible.

Charts and graphs are often included in this section or may be in an appendix at the end. In any case, graphs can illustrate points that are hard to extrapolate from text-based data, so be sure to include as many as will be helpful. The cost-benefit analysis should include the projected financial benefit to the company and a projection of when that payoff is expected. Recommendations In this section, you make your recommendations for the project and how it is to be conducted. The recommendation for implementation is a brief restatement of compelling results of the cost-benefit analysis and a final statement that you believe the project should go ahead.

Articulate the circumstances under which it should be undertaken, including key individuals and actions. Include a recommendation for scheduled reexamination of the project status. If there is any question as to the availability of key resources, make that clear. Include a recommendation for regularly scheduled reexamination of the project status. Refer the reader back to relevant document sections and graphical presentations where it might be helpful.

Check your document content to ensure that it's well-constructed and includes all the key elements. Following is a sample business case checklist:. Just like any great novel, a good case study has a beginning, a middle, and an end, with a conflict and a resolution. Peer-to-peer influence is a massively important thing, and case studies are wonderful at fulfilling it because they offer the view of a customer rather than a company. Direct quotes, statistics, and more are standard, and these things are fantastic for helping would-be clients to see the value in a company.

By providing real-life examples of your product at work, paired with glowing customer reviews, they can help new customers feel more confident in your company and take the leap to convert. For an example, check out this case study excerpt from our own clientele based case study:. This guide will help you get started. When it comes time to write a case study, you might have multiple cases to choose from.

The first part of being successful, though, is narrowing these things down. To determine which of your various cases would be the best fit for a study, look at them and evaluate whether or not they contain the following elements:. Now comes the tough part — the writing! Depending on your brand and the content of the case study, you can write it in either the first or third person.

Either approach will work, and most case studies use a mixture of both. The title is a critical component of the case study. To make it as attention-grabbing as possible, include percentages and strong action verbs. Here are some good examples from real-life case studies:. Many people think that learning how to write a business case study involves incorporating jargon and corporate-speak into the writing. In fact, writing a business case study requires you to keep your language simple rather than making it more complicated.

The more you can avoid corporate jargon in your case studies, the better. In addition to making them more natural and approachable, this will also allow non-customers to approach your case study without being intimidated away by overly complicated case study language.

A case study is not the place to leave out critical data. Instead, write from the beginning to the end and keep it as accurate and chronological as possible. This will help flesh out the entire circumstances surrounding your interaction with the client and allow your readers to understand your impact more effectively.

Since a case study is designed, at least in part, for press distribution, it should be outfitted with your contact information and details. This will allow other companies, customers, and more to contact you regarding the case study, and will help to make the information within it more accessible to other people. This will provide enough information for interested parties to contact you and can help boost the ROI of your case study down the road.

Simple things, like using text boxes to pull out key facts, statistics, and quotes, and inputting related graphics and charts can make all of the difference in your case study and should be used liberally to enhance its value and interest. We can help — our lead designer is familiar with how to take copy and create custom, beautiful designs in Adobe to match! Check out our case study service here.

This may mean publishing the case study on your blog, reaching out to relevant publishing platforms, or gating the case study and using it to drive email sign-ups for your company. First, as a blog post:

What's a business case?

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The business case is developed during the early stages of a project; skipping or racing through the stages described in "How to Write a Business Case: 4 Steps to a Perfect Business Case .

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A business case is the way you prove to your client, customer or stakeholder that the product you’re pitching is a sound investment, and Jennifer Bridges, PMP, illustrates the steps to writing one that will sway them. The business case traditionally is a document that defines the core business.

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You have a great idea you believe will improve your business. In order to make your idea a reality, you may be asked to write a business case that clearly articulates what you want to accomplish. Business case studies can have a massive impact on your marketing, done right.. While they cost time and effort to create, they can be a stellar tactic to draw new customers to your business .

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A business case document is a formal, written argument intended to convince a decision maker to approve some kind of action. A well-crafted business case explores all feasible approaches to a given problem and enables business owners to select the option that best serves the organization. The benefits of writing a business case as an analyst The primary purpose of a business case is to sell a viable solution for a clearly defined business problem or new product to the company that’s hired you.