To understand what business case success look like, let’s first look at what failure looks like. Failure takes place when the business case:
- Is not in line with strategic business objectives;
- Lacks recognition of what is important to the CEO and CFO;
- Requests spend without financial benefit projections; and
- Uses HR and learning industry terminology that is a “different language.”
These failures all have one thing in common: they all relate to a learning and development-driven agenda and not a business-driven agenda. To develop a successful business case for elearning, you must consider how it is perceived and how it will impact the greater good of the organization.
Who can tell you how your business case is perceived and how it will impact the greater organizational good? No single stakeholder can. In fact, according to Corporate Executive Board (CEB), the average number of individuals involved in today’s buying decision is 5.4. The members of this buying team will often have differing agendas. That means that in order to get a cloud-based learning business case approved, you’ll need to identify each of the buying team stakeholders and secure their support by tailoring it to their specific priorities. Skipping or not fully addressing a stage will weaken a business case and reduce the approval probability for your online learning solution.
Stage 1: Define the Business Issue
- Identify the business opportunity or problem to be solved.
- Create a succinct description of what your proposal will deliver.
- The objectives should help your organization reach its overall goals and be aligned with the priorities of senior management.
- An example may be “reduce operating expenses” or “increase talent capability.”
- Develop an opportunity statement.
- This describes the benefits of solving the problem or seizing the opportunity.
- For example, “reduce HR budget and expand talent development to more employees.