Archives > March 2015

Business Cases: 10 Steps to Maximize Investment Value (Steps 1 & 2)

This post is part of an ongoing series on the Tantus business case methodology, written by Dave McGarva (dave.mcgarva@tantus.com). This is part 3 of 9. The next instalment will be posted in May 2015.

Part 1 – Why Do a Business Case?

Part 2 – Our CLEAR Methodology for Business Cases

 

To benefit from the business case methodology, a rigorous, objective, and honest attitude is required during its creation. To do otherwise is to risk making a poor investment. We have developed a 10-step process to guide our clients through the business case process, which includes a comprehensive options analysis. This ensures that our clients are equipped with sufficient information to make decisions that maximize the value of their investment. This post covers our first 2 steps in detail. Watch for our next post for the next step.

 

Step 1: Define the Problem

Methodology

Step 1 includes a review of the organization and its industry. The review includes a concise description of the business problem or decision. It also includes a description of the opportunity that exists to solve or answer the problem or decision in question.

This step also includes an in depth analysis of the organization’s current state, including all relevant systems, processes or services that could be impacted by the business case. The analysis is developed through information gathered at the initial project meeting and a scan of background material.

Tips

Business problems or questions need to be explored from different perspectives. One way to accomplish this is to approach the problem or question from the perspective of each stakeholder, as well as the funders or decision-making body. This allows for a more thorough understanding of the business problem.

Traps

If you don’t have a full understanding of the problem, extra time and effort are an inevitable result. Correctly defining the problem is critical.

Case

We were tasked with assessing the need for a real-time information system for a local organization.

The organization focused on expensive technological updates to improve communication, as this seemed the most obvious (and direct) issue. When we looked at  the issue, we took a bigger picture perspective, and applied a business context the client had not initially considered.

Our perspective analyzed business processes, staffing, and the organization’s governance structure. By identifying these larger components, it soon became evident that the organization’s issues were not strictly technical, and simply implementing improved technology would not have solved the issue on its own.

 

 

Step 2: Describe the Project

Methodology

The project description is an exercise in scoping a project and determining what information will be included in the final business case. It includes a high level description of the project, what the objectives of the project are, what information is considered in scope, the anticipated outcomes and a categorical breakdown of stakeholders, with identified business requirements.

Tips

It is important to identify key objectives for the project. This process breaks a complex problem or project into smaller, more manageable sections. The process of developing specific objectives also allows for the development of a wider range of potential solutions in Step 5.

Traps

If scope is not properly identified, the project is at risk. Identifying scope will focus the business case and solution development. This ensures that the project does not become so broadly focused that it becomes unmanageable.

Case

Sometimes we need to scope the project, because the problem or issue isn’t what we think it is.

Recently, a client wanted to conduct a business case studying the best options for increasing their manufacturing capacity by investing in a new facility. Because they wanted to improve capacity it appeared that what they needed was a bigger, better, and larger facility.

But upon further inspection, it wasn’t the facility that needed fixing. The actual process to manufacture the products needed to be reviewed, and the facility had little to do with it.

As a result, the analysis led to a number of potential alternatives outside of building a new facility – a costly venture that would have slowed the company’s future development.

 

Coming soon –  Step 3 – Test Alignment with Strategy

Tantus to Present at CTA Conference

We’re excited to be presenting at the Corrections Technology Association conference in Daytona Beach on Monday June 1st, 2015.

 

In conjunction with Lori Allen (Director) from Alberta Justice and Solicitor General, Chris Young, a senior consultant at Tantus, will be presenting Alberta Corrections: Aligning Business with Technology. In this engaging presentation participants will learn how Alberta Corrections has been able to take full advantage of their new Offender Management System (OMS) which went into production in 2013. The implementation of that system was highlighted in a presentation at CTA that year and focused primarily on the technical implementation. This presentation will focus on the business transformation and change management efforts pre and post go-live.

 

In addition to Mr. Young, representatives from Tantus attending the conference include senior consultant, Jamie Reynar  and CEO, Glenn De Roy.  They and Ms. Allen will be available at the conference to discuss our experiences and successes as well as other activities we are undertaking in the Corrections field.

Our Business Case Methodology (continued)

This post is part of an ongoing series on the Tantus business case methodology, written by Dave McGarva (dave.mcgarva@tantus.com). This is part 2 of 9. The next installment will be posted in April 2015.

The CLEAR Methodology

The Tantus business case methodology can be described using the acronym CLEAR. The business case methodology is considered “Concise,” “Logical,” “Encompassing,” “Accountable” and “Robust.” The firm has used the methodology successfully with a variety of clients to secure funding for a wide variety of projects and capital investment decisions. The CLEAR methodology is outlined below.

C – Concise

A Business case gathers and distills a wide variety of information about a given business decision. Risks, costs, stakeholder impacts and strategic alignment are all considered for a spectrum of alternatives. This information is distilled down to a simple conclusion that allows for quick and efficient decision making.

L – Logical

Alternatives are evaluated based on quantified scoring numbers. Project risks, impacts on stakeholders, alignment with project objectives, and an analysis of the costs and benefits for each alternative are scored and evaluated.

E – Encompassing

A Business Case is encompassing because it uses a broad spectrum of ways to approach and evaluate a business opportunity/decision. The approach takes into account each of the potential stakeholder groups that may be impacted by the project, and factors their impact scoring into the final evaluation of the alternatives.

A – Aligned

A business case is accountable because they are driven by stakeholder input and are tied to the strategic direction of stakeholder organizations and project objectives. Stakeholder groups are invited to provide their scoring regarding each alternative’s impact on their business. An analysis is also conducted to evaluate how the project aligns with the strategic directions of stakeholders and with the project objectives.

R – Robust

“Robust” because our business cases include an extensive look at all of the options available to the client. An entire spectrum of alternatives is evaluated, including the status quo, to ensure all options are examined and that the most comprehensive evaluation possible is conducted. The methodology also involves evaluating potential solutions in a number of different ways to ensure a robust analysis.