Get a Grip on Your Business Case as Early as Possible
As is well recognised for IT projects over many years, a solid business case remains at the core of AI initiatives, with two purposes:
- providing focus to the business processes where you expect benefit to arise, and how that benefit will be achieved. This will help business functions and users to appreciate what impact the technology will have on them, and in particular how it will help them
- building consensus and stakeholder buy-in to the idea. Senior stakeholders will need to ensure that the business has a clear focus, both in terms of the delivery of a return on investment and to drive the change programme that will result.
A Business Case is Not About ‘The Numbers’
In some senses, the actual numbers themselves can be less important than the underlying detail, which becomes a strong ‘change management’ visioning tool to guide implementation and change projects. This serves to remind managers and business users of the ‘why we are doing this’, which will become important when – as is inevitable in pilot projects – sight of the objectives can be lost in day to day detail.
By doing this, you can break through the perceptions of ‘technology hype’ and ‘flavour of the month’ which can affect any project involving a relatively new technology.
Beware of Templates or Pre-Cooked Benefits Models
A business case will frequently result in ‘lines in a spreadsheet’, and it is easy to start with a template model to assess whether a particular area or type of benefit will work for you. Business cases are in many ways similar to bench-marking exercises – continually subject to the ‘Ah But….’ and ‘So What….?’ factors – every business is unique, and there may well be little or no benefits in areas within your business when looked through the lens of a generic template. Equally, the issues in your business, where you can gain benefit, will be driven by the KPIs and dynamics of your business processes, which will have differences from anything you might find in a template. Either way, you can be misled into building an inappropriate business case.
Developing a Business Case, where there is a degree of variability both in the technology itself and how it can be applied, requires support from an experienced third party to help you to maintain objectivity and not be blinded by science or hype, and to uncover where your benefit will arise. To get started with your project, or simply discuss your ideas, call us on +44 113 242 3795.