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Impact - A Blog by INM

Building Your Business Case for Your eLibrary

February 9, 2009 by

The most important take-away when preparing your business case is that the document doesn't need to be lengthy in order to be effective and successful. Below is a short review of the steps you'll need to undertake in developing a well-defined business case for your eLibrary initiative.

Create an Executive Summary: This is where you list the most important points of the business case and describe the situation, what the proposed solution will accomplish, how best to proceed, who and what will be involved, benefits, costs as well as start and end dates for implementation. It's best to write this section once you've formulated all of your points and worked through each element of your plan. List the Objectives: Describe why a need is present. What is the current situation? / Who is being impacted? Provide background information on how things are and give an understanding of the current situation. Describe what your proposed solution seek to change? Describe the various eLibrary Alternatives: List details of the alternatives you considered along with the costs, benefits and drawbacks for each. Examine financial considerations, space and personnel requirements and any qualitative items such as best practices or employee perception. Look at solutions that speak to the user experience within your library environment. Provide details on your selected option: Describe the chosen option and give points on why it is the best one. Reinforce the costs and benefits. If you have suggestions re: funding or partnerships then list these ideas. State the start and completion time as well as the individuals required to participate in this solution. How will this solution fit within the current library structure? Define the budget: To allow for accuracy, start with listing the project costs. Include costs for software solutions, developer costs, communication hours, etc. For some people, it’s easier to list everything out in hours required and then translate this figure into dollar amounts. Keep in mind that you are creating an estimate which serves as a guide for decision making. Examine your internal costs as well as external ones. Also keep in mind such items as maintenance and support costs, vendor fees, licensing fees, costs to digitize documents based on the volume of materials you have as well as quality assurance time. Plan the implementation of your eLibrary solution: Provide some approximation as to how the solution will be put into effect. What is the ‘action plan’? Define the strategy and milestones for delivery. Describe who will work on this project. What is required of these individuals? Who will manage the resources dedicated to this initiative as well as monitor the timelines? Do you require any additional external resources? What is the project schedule? How will you respond to any changes? What risks are involved and how will you address them? How will you measure success? Create an appendix: Add all supporting information in this section including charts, research materials and calculations.