Making the Business Case for a Business Process
By Patrick Gauthier
Sometimes, business process and workflow redesign result in recommendations for very significant change in how “things” are done. If it is your job to establish the business case for substantive redesign or innovation in a given business process, it is best that you understand what that means. I have spent the better part of a week with a client who thinks a business case is a business plan. Argh!
What is a Business Case?
A business case is meant to capture the reasoning for initiating a project or task. It is usually presented in a well-structured written document. The objective in a business case is establishing that the investment of resources (cost) will result in support of a business goal (ROI).
A business case needs to include information such as the background of the project, the expected business benefits, the options considered and the criteria they were evaluated against, the expected costs of the project, a gap analysis (how do we get there) and the expected issues/risks. Consideration should also be given to the option of doing nothing. Based on this information, leadership can justify their decision with respect to advancing the recommended changes or not.
The Business Case should ensure:
- issues, including obstacles, have been thoroughly considered
- that there is sufficient information to make comparisons and conduct evaluations
- value and risks can be clearly identified
- outcomes and benefits can be measured
A business case is about critical thinking. It’s your job in the process to establish goals, conduct cost-benefit analysis and express return-on-investment. These are not simple tasks.
Creating a Business Case for your Business Process
The case must demonstrate that: the issues are all accounted for, the full benefits (value, ROI) will be realized on time, and all resource needs have been evaluated and budgeted.
A business case should contain some or all of the following information (depending on the timing and scale):
Context – Business objectives/opportunities, strategic alignment (priority).
Value Proposition – Desired business outcomes, benefits, costs, ROI, and costs of not proceeding.
Focus – Problem/solution scope, assumptions/constraints, options identified/evaluated, scale and complexity assessment.
Deliverables – Outcomes, deliverables and benefits planned.
Workload – Approach, project/task plan, critical path, workload estimate/breakdown.
Required resources – Project leadership, governance, resources, funding.
Commitments (required) – Project controls, status reporting, deliverables schedule, change management.
Patrick Gauthier — Patrick is a consultant specializing in business process and workflow management. Prior to launching a consultancy—Kapalign Business Process Consulting—with his partner, Kathryn Alexandrei, he served in a variety of leadership positions in the healthcare, mental health, insurance, consulting, and non-profit fields. He brings eighteen years experience in health care delivery management, ten of which have included executive leadership in public and private sector managed care operations. His expertise in operations is specifically related to customer service departments and call centers, quality improvement, health utilization management and building healthcare provider networks. His marketing background includes reaching under-served populations and building successful public-private partnerships. For the past two years, he has consulted to healthcare clients all over the country from offices in Southern California. Patrick’s experience and expertise span the non-profit, for-profit and government sectors. Patrick can be contacted at Patrick@kapalign.com and he regularly blogs on Workflow IQ.
Kathryn Alexandrei – Kathryn is a founding partner of Kapalign and senior consultant with experience leading business process improvement initiatives in a variety of industries. With over 15 years experience in leadership positions in the nonprofit, retail and services sectors, she is skilled in the identification, analysis, and resolution of diverse operational issues. Kathryn offers particular expertise to start-up organizations and the unique challenges they face establishing operations and business practices. Her career has featured orchestrating start-ups as well as elevating organizational performance through skillful restructuring, business process improvement initiatives, and building highly motivated teams. Kathryn believes firmly in the value of adhering to organizational vision and mission while positively impacting the bottom line with operational performance on a daily basis. Among her areas of subject matter expertise is project management, infrastructure development, workflow documentation and redesign, website development, relationship management, contract management, and performance management. Kathryn founded Kapalign Business Process Consulting in 2007 in order to provide professional consulting services to small businesses and non-profit organizations. Kapalign’s approach to consulting engagements combines a commitment to effective, transparent collaboration with a dedication to design and evaluation methods that ensure quality, sustainability and growth.
Kapalign Business Process Consulting — Kapalign is a woman-owned consulting firm with an innovative approach to providing business process optimization consulting services. From our offices in Southern California, we leverage the tools and methodologies of Business Process Optimization and then package and deliver those services to clients who might otherwise find larger consulting firms’ extensive engagement times and high prices a poor fit. Kapalign consultants bring to bear between fifteen and twenty years’ professional experience and expertise in diverse fields such as healthcare operations, government programs, insurance, retail/hospitality and non-profit leadership. Our consultants apply their expertise in the analysis of business operations, group facilitation, business process/workflow analysis, elimination of waste, and continuous quality improvement to a myriad of business environments. Our consulting services are tailored specifically to the small and medium-sized organizations in the private for-profit, public, and non-profit sectors. Our approach involves greater use of web-based tools and a deeply-held conviction that our involvement will be efficient, affordable and—above all—effective.