Build a business case
& gain executive sponsorship
Putting your vision into action
Why do I need a business case?
You have the vision. You have the plan. Now you need to put it into action. Developing a business case that secures executive and organisational buy-in and approval can be the ‘make or break’ of your digital transformation. It puts the vision into action, linking the roadmap to the institution’s overarching strategic goals.
Making a strong business case for digital transformation
Download our template for more detailed recommendations about the inclusions you should consider when building your business case.
What is the essential information I should include in my business case?
A business case should answer the question: why are we doing this? Financial information is obviously key. The business case should outline how the project will save money, increase revenue and enrolments, or improve the way you engage and serve students, and within what timeframe the institution can expect to receive a return on its investment.
But there are other important areas to consider. Your institution may choose to green light a project knowing on its own it isn’t saving money, but because it is essential to other projects, and the achievement of its overarching vision. A business case sets out to draw this link and provide the rationale for any investment of resources or money.
Risk is another key consideration that should be covered in any business case. It is important to outline the risks and opportunities, so that you can demonstrate all options have been considered and that the overall benefits outweigh the risks - as well as assuring stakeholders that risks will be managed.
Why do I need executive buy-in?
Executive buy-in is important to ensure when hard decisions need to be made, or when the going gets tough, that there are people who are in the position to make and hold decisions, and do so based on their understanding and agreement to the vision.
How do I go about getting executive sponsorship?
Executive sponsorship will always be easier if your project has a clear link to your university or tertiary institution’s mission and long term plans. Your institution is clear on what it wants to achieve, so you need to show them why your project is important to its success.
However, sometimes it is important to tackle it from the other perspective - highlighting the risks of what will happen if you don’t take action. For example - what will the complications be? what will it end up costing? Provide tangible examples of other tertiary education providers that have experienced pitfalls, failed to accommodate shifts in student demand, and what you can learn from their experiences.
Who should champion this?
Ideally, executive sponsorship should be championed by line managers in your professional staff who are responsible for delivering the institution’s services, with the backing of senior leaders including the Vice-Chancellor and/or CEO. However, it may be appropriate for a specific project group to be formed to drive it forward.
Certainly, there should be a formalised group of people who are responsible for project delivery, which would involve an executive champion tasked with gaining executive buy-in and cutting through any issues the group faces internally.
Ready to learn more?
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