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Why is a business case important and how it can deliver an optimum outcome?

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A business case often provides decision makers, stakeholders and the public with a management tool for evidence based and transparent decision making. It is a framework for delivery and performance monitoring of the subsequent policy, strategy or project to follow thereafter.

The resultant project will only be successful if they have been planned realistically, with a clear focus after detailed consideration of the associated risks. It is a business case that clearly presents the risks, opportunities and threats involved putting them in perspective of the investment involved there in. Thus a business case is not just a record of the Return on Investment from a financial perspective but will present a summary of all the benefits delivered.

The Five Case Model, which is the UK government’s best practice approach to planning spending proposals and enabling effective business decision, goes beyond the financial dimension. The Five Case Model is a framework for “thinking” to help answer three basic questions of, ‘Where are we now?’ ‘Where do we want to be?’ And, ‘How are we going to get there?’

These are never easy questions to answer and often change as more information comes to light. For significant projects the business case is developed through three iterations. These are the Strategic Outline Case (SOC), the Outline Business Case (OBC) and the Full or Final Business Case (FBC).

The Five views or “Cases” are:

• The “strategic case” –  there is a compelling case for change that fits with the strategic objectives of the sponsoring organisation.

• The “economic case” –  the solution represents best value .

• The “commercial case” –  the proposed solution is attractive to the market place, can be procured on appropriate terms so it is commercially viable .

• The “financial case” – the proposed financial investment is affordable .

• The “management case” –  the input required from all parties involved in the project is achievable .

Simply asking some Project Sponsors or promoters to develop these five cases can often results in marginal or non-viable projects never seeing the light of day and wasted effort being avoided. By reducing the wasted effort, all resources can be focused on those projects most likely to succeed thereby improving the likelihood of success and helping to challenge the common perception that most projects fail.

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