I never wrote a business case in business school.

I studied business for my undergrad at the University of Toledo. I never wrote a business case. Ok, maybe I wrote something similar to a business case… but I never wrote a real one. I am starting to learn in my two years out of college that some things will never be taught in a classroom.

A few months ago – I was told to bring social media in to help our IT teams communicate and collaborate better.  Our IT groups are known for rolling out lots of new systems with little or no communication – to each-other or to the end users. Alot of work is duplicated and time is lost.  I began to heavily research social media for enterprise collaboration. Our company already has SharePoint 2007 and we will be upgrading to SharePoint 2010. I decided to investigate Yammer. I had been on Yammer a while, but never really got into it until this project.

Basically Yammer became viral at my company. But before we did anything major about it (ie. Use the purchased SAAS) I was told – ” I need a business case for this”.  I stared at my boss’s boss with my mouth open. What, a business case? What’s that?

After a few days of researching business case writing, and figuring out what questions needed to be answered and answering them about Social Media and Yammer specifically I had a pretty solid business case.

These are the questions I answered

  • What was the problem?
  • What was the root cause?
  • How were we going to solve it?
  • What tools and technology does this bring us that we don’t already have? (SharePoint, Email, IM vs. Yammer)
  • Risks and Mitigation
  • What happens if we do nothing? (Do nothing leads to nothing).
  • Implementation Plan
  • Other Social Media and Enterprise Statistics and research found from Gartner
  • Other department and review, approval and sign off of ideas, concepts and design

Anyways, I worked on this nights and weekends because during the week I wasn’t really “allowed” to work on anything besides our  SAP implementation. I was quite impressed with all the information I came up with and how it was laid out (of course we didn’t have an internal business case template for me to follow). I went through a few revisions with my manager and added more details and structure. This was a great learning opportunity for me.

Then when I presented it to my boss’s boss… He said, Nice work… but I just wanted 5 slides that I could present to management.

ARGH! So I made my five slides that were the highlights of the business case that he could present. (More on how that went in later posts but a fyi… we don’t use Yammer anymore… and not because of Yammer, but because legal and HR went nuts. Oh well.)

Lesson Learned: When they ask for business case… find out what they really mean before you become too involved in writing a business case.

In other news… This blog post is pretty cool too  Whatever happened to the business case?


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