Developing a Business Case

We’re still (sort of) at the beginning of a new year, and with the new year comes new opportunities and new ideas. Here at Brandon Hall Group, we’re looking forward to attending some of the upcoming learning and technology conferences, and one of the things that a conference does is introduce organizations to new software vendors and options. But how does an organization decide to purchase or upgrade their learning and development or talent management technology? Once that decision is made, how do you sell the other decision- makers in your organization on the idea of a purchase? One of the ways to do that is by developing a business case.

In a Brandon Hall Group event[1] on business cases the participants were asked about the last time they developed a business case.

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Building a business case is an often overlooked skill for the HR and learning professional, and over 50% of the organizations surveyed had either never completed a business case or had not done so in the last three years.

The benefits of creating a business case cannot be overstated when you’re looking to implement or upgrade technology systems. The elements of a successful business case are:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Business Need
  3. Value, ROI, or Business Results
  4. Initiative Description (In terms of outcomes)
  5. Budget and Resources(tangible and non-tangible costs)
  6. Measurement Strategy
  7. Suggested Implementation and Operation plan
  8. Communication and Change Management Plan
  9. Risks and Challenges
  10. Required Actions

An executive-level business case – if being developed in PowerPoint-  should include no more than 5 to 10 slides.

Think about the needs of your organization as new technology becomes available, and then build your business case to help with a successful technology implementation.

For more information on building a business case, Brandon Hall Group members can access the research brief, Managing Today’s Workforce with Yesterday’s Technology? A Business Case for Change here, or view a webinar on building a business case here.


[1] Building a Business Case for Performing and Learning, 2011 N=169.

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