Responsibility for Ownership of the Business Case

10 Feb

The ownership of the IS investment business case must reside with and remain within the organisation. In the case of significant investment, even a Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) should be appointed for controlling or supervising the project’s direction at board level. It is not recommended that the responsibility for the direction and the creation of the business case be outsourced to external consultants. In order to avoid common causes of project failure, the primary author must be an employee of the organisation [1] [2]. Ownership in the hands of an external source leaves a project to common failures such as:

  • Lack of clear links between the project and the organisation’s key strategic priorities, including agreed measures of success
  • Lack of clear senior management and ministerial ownership and leadership
  • Lack of effective engagement with stakeholders
  • Evaluation of proposals driven by in initial price rather than long-term value for money (especially securing delivery of business benefits)
  • Lack of effective project team integration between clients, business users and technicians [1]

While external consultants may prove to be of invaluable support, outsourcing a project of such importance is not beneficial to the business case in getting accepted or in its successful implementation. However, where the necessary skills and resources are not available internally, the use of external consultants should be considered, albeit with a limited involvement [1].

The creation of the business case should also not be regarded as an additional function of the project manager nor be viewed as just another hurdle or obstacle to get beyond for approval purposes. Rather, it is essential it is viewed as a fundamental part of the overall business planning process. And as such should require and involve guidance from the business managers, users and technicians involved in the investment initiative [1].

[1] HM Treasury: Business case guidance. Accessed at: [http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/greenbook_toolkitguide170707.pdf]

[2] Information Management: Creating a Successful Business Case to Advance Your Initiative. Accessed at: [http://www.information-management.com/news/4330-1.html]

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