THE MAGAZINE

Make Your Case

By Nathan Boberg, CPP & Keith Blakemore, CPP

Security managers can improve their chances of successfully obtaining funding by ensuring that the business case is interesting. To do this, the business case should provide the reader with a real picture or vision while minimizing jargon and conjecture. Communicating all relevant facts as part of the overall story is important since this is a chance to prove that the author has done his or her homework. Making it business oriented and concerned with business capabilities and impact, rather than having a technical focus, is also a key point, so decision makers can easily determine the bottom-line impact. Managers must ensure that the reasons for the project are in line with and support the organization’s strategy.

The business case should include a comparative analysis that provides evidence-based research and justifies the data. The document should clearly impart how the benefits will be realized and should set out what will define a successful outcome and which option is preferred. Demonstrating the short-term and long-term value the project brings to the organization while including the nonfinancial, as well as financial, project costs, resource needs, and risks is the final point to remember.

How to Write a Business Case

Many companies have a formal process for requesting capital funds or resources related to a project or program. An im­portant step in this process is to develop a good business case to justify the re­sources and capital investment. The business case is the place where all rel­evant information is documented and linked together into one cohesive story.

A business case contains eight essential parts: executive summary, project description, business impact, justification, cost-benefit analysis, alternatives and analysis, recommendation, and approval.

1.) Executive summary. The executive summary is the first section of the business case. It is a short summary of the entire business case and should be comprehensive because it may be the only part of the document that executives will actually read. This section should provide general information on the challenges surrounding the issue. Managers should mine the details of the larger sections of the report to build a complete summary of the case. It should briefly describe the business problem that the proposed project will address. It should highlight the benefits it will provide and how it aligns with the goals and objectives of the organization. The executive summary is an opportunity to win over those in the decision making hierarchy, and it should be constructed with careful consideration of the audience.

Because security investments can have two kinds of payoffs—an improved security picture and an improved financial picture—it is important to characterize these benefits carefully. Knowing how to quantify an investment and its projected return in ways that the CFO and other financial decision makers are accustomed to seeing can be pivotal to obtaining approval, especially in tough economic times.

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