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How to write a winning software business case

12 steps to writing a successful software business case.

How to write a winning software business case

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If you need new technology in your business, you'll have to get buy-in from people at the top.  

To sell your ideas, you'll probably have to write a business case. This may sound like boring bureaucracy, but it's actually a good thing! It will help you justify the costs, benefits, risks and opportunities before you spend time and money investing in new software. Your business case should include a detailed financial analysis that proves the benefits outweigh the costs.  

A convincing business case can make or break your pitch, so it's got to be a winner. We recommend breaking it down into smaller sections and taking it step by step.  

Download our business case template.

STEP 1 – Executive summary  

This section highlights the key points of the business case – a summary of the potential issues, benefits and return on investment. It's a good idea to write a rough bullet point list when you start, and come back to this section later on – you might have more ideas when you've written other sections.  

STEP 2 – Project background

You need to explain your proposed project so your stakeholders can make an informed decision. Key questions to answer: Why do you need new software? What impact will it have on your processes? What's the implementation process?  

STEP 3 – Business opportunity  

This section explains how the investment in new software could bring new opportunities to your business. Think about brand awareness, attracting new customers, and potential growth.  

STEP 4 – Alternatives  

All business cases must include at least 2 alternatives, including not doing the project. Explain why your proposal is the best option and how it compares to other options in the market.  

STEP 5 – Costs

Get down to the nitty gritty – outline all the costs involved. Include the cost of development, implementation, subscription, training, and updates, and remember to price-up each item.  

STEP 6 – Benefits 

This is your opportunity to really make your proposal shine. Outline all the benefits you can think of – start with revenue generation, cost reductions, improved service, increased efficiencies, and better user experience.  

STEP 7 – Financial analysis  

In this section you need to compare the costs and benefits to find out the true value of the project. This will help you determine the return on investment, payback period, net present value (NPV) and internal rate of return.  

STEP 8 – Other things to think about 

Okay, this may sound a bit vague, you can use this section to mention all those miscellaneous topics. Think about security, server location, encryption, uptime, customer service and technical specs.  

STEP 9 – Constraints 

Be realistic about your proposed schedule, resources, budget, staffing and technical changes that could impact your project. If you're upfront in your business case, you won’t have any surprises later on.  

STEP 10 – Organisational considerations

Here, you need to think about how your project will impact your company in the future. We don't mean benefits, but other things that'll affect your organisation, like staff buy-in, user experience and firewall issues. Look at testimonials to learn about other companies' experiences of the software.  

STEP 11 – Risk analysis  

In this section, drill down into the potential risks of your project – and not doing it. These could include lagging behind in the market, using outdated technology and any additional costs.  

STEP 12 – The future  

Break down the practical steps involved in your project into development stages. This will help your stakeholders understand exactly how the implementation process will work when your project goes ahead.  

Now you know the 12 steps to success, it's time to get started on your own business case. This can be daunting, so we've created a fully populated template for you to use. It contains all the information you need to include about OneFile's eportfolio – or you can change the details to suit your own software proposal.  

Download template

This article includes research and opinion sourced by OneFile at the time of publication. Things may have changed since then,
so this research is to be used at the reader's discretion. OneFile is not liable for any action taken based on this research.