Re: QUESTION: What is a business case?

Subject: Re: QUESTION: What is a business case?
From: Richard Yanowitz <ryanowit -at- NYCT -dot- NET>
Date: Mon, 18 May 1998 18:13:55 -0400

A "case" is typically a narrative history that identifies problems and/or
virtues of a particular business situation. (It is possible that your
company is using the term differently.)

One kind of business case is created by some business schools (I wrote one
of these): you find a business willing to reveal its inner workings
(perhaps with fictional names), you interview relevant people, and you
write up the history about the particular business issue (e.g., death of an
owner, new and aggressive competition, a public action that has gotten the
company into hot water, an investment scenario) in a way that gives readers
lots of data but answers offers no solution to the problem(s) encountered
in the case.

Another kind of case, which I've also written, is for marketing purposes:
you interview people who have used your company's product(s) and are happy
with them, and you write a history of what the company was like before
using your products and how the company was then transformed.

Those are crude summaries. I don't know if they'll help.

It sounds as though your needs are parallel to the above but not identical.
I would ask the person who mandated this task exactly what the audience is
supposed to learn/know/feel after reading the document. (You shouldn't
have to guess at this.)


At 04:42 PM 5/18/98 -0400, Graham, Debra wrote:
>Hi all!
>
> I am currently tasked with writing a business case but having never
>worked on one, I'm not quite sure what it is supposed to include.
>(Actually, someone else started the business case last year but never
>finished it, so I'm being asked to update and revise it.) I'm looking
>for a good model, references to books about how to write one, tips and
>tricks, etc.
>
>I've gone to the public library for information about business cases but
>haven't been able to find anything. (Business plans, business
>policies--yes. Business cases--no.) Is this a genre specific to AT&T
>(the company I'm working for) or is it used by other companies?
>
>>From what I have to work with, I'd say a business case is:
>
>* a type of proposal
>* written to an internal audience
>* requesting and justifying the request for funds (in this case, more
>hardware to support an internal product)
>
>I found a couple old ones from elsewhere in the organization but they
>are somewhat different in the type of information they include. I'm
>using these as models for right now but I'm hoping to find a reference
>that will help me to resolve the differences. Since the business case
>is supposed to go to vice-president types, I want to be sure to include
>the information they want in the format they want!

Richard Yanowitz, NYC
ryanowitz -at- bigfoot -dot- com

Freelance writers (including tech writers): join the National Writers Union
Web site: http://www.nwu.org/nwu/
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