Stage 3
Build a business case
& gain executive sponsorship

Putting your vision into action

Why do I need a business case?

You have the vision. You have the plan. Now you need to put it into action. Developing a business case that secures executive and organisational buy-in and approval can be the ‘make or break’ of your digital transformation. It puts the vision into action, linking the roadmap to the institution’s overarching strategic goals.

Making a strong business case for digital transformation

Download our template for more detailed recommendations about the inclusions you should consider when building your business case.

What is the essential information I should include in my business case?

A business case should answer the question: why are we doing this? Financial information is obviously key. The business case should outline how the project will save money, increase revenue and enrolments, or improve the way you engage and serve students, and within what timeframe the institution can expect to receive a return on its investment.

But there are other important areas to consider. Your institution may choose to green light a project knowing on its own it isn’t saving money, but because it is essential to other projects, and the achievement of its overarching vision. A business case sets out to draw this link and provide the rationale for any investment of resources or money.

Risk is another key consideration that should be covered in any business case. It is important to outline the risks and opportunities, so that you can demonstrate all options have been considered and that the overall benefits outweigh the risks - as well as assuring stakeholders that risks will be managed.

Why do I need executive buy-in?

Executive buy-in is important to ensure when hard decisions need to be made, or when the going gets tough, that there are people who are in the position to make and hold decisions, and do so based on their understanding and agreement to the vision.

How do I go about getting executive sponsorship?

Executive sponsorship will always be easier if your project has a clear link to your university or tertiary institution’s mission and long term plans. Your institution is clear on what it wants to achieve, so you need to show them why your project is important to its success.

However, sometimes it is important to tackle it from the other perspective - highlighting the risks of what will happen if you don’t take action. For example - what will the complications be? what will it end up costing? Provide tangible examples of other tertiary education providers that have experienced pitfalls, failed to accommodate shifts in student demand, and what you can learn from their experiences.

Who should champion this?

Ideally, executive sponsorship should be championed by line managers in your professional staff who are responsible for delivering the institution’s services, with the backing of senior leaders including the Vice-Chancellor and/or CEO. However, it may be appropriate for a specific project group to be formed to drive it forward.

Certainly, there should be a formalised group of people who are responsible for project delivery, which would involve an executive champion tasked with gaining executive buy-in and cutting through any issues the group faces internally.

Digital Transformation Hub

Our digital transformation hub is designed to provide you with the resources you need to prepare, enact and realise your digital transformation journey.

Start your digital transformation

The journey to digital transformation involves careful planning and consideration. We've devised four key stages to get you started and on your way.

Clear vision and strategy

Not every digital transformation strategy is made equal. Its success hangs on having a clear vision and strategy, from the outset. The strategy needs to be linked to the institution’s overall mission, objectives and long term plan, which means having executive buy in and sponsorship.

Make a business plan

Once you have outlined a clear vision and strategy for digital transformation, the next step is to build your business plan. A business plan is essentially your roadmap, outlining the steps needed to achieve your vision. You should approach it like an instruction manual, breaking your business plan into achievable and necessary steps.

Build a business case & gain executive sponsorship

You have the vision. You have the plan. Now you need to put it into action. Developing a business case that secures executive and organisational buy-in and approval can be the ‘make or break’ of your digital transformation.

Align with your IT strategy

Tick: your business case is approved. Before you get started, the last step of your preparation stage is to ensure your digital transformation strategy is aligned with your IT strategy. Failure to align these strategies will cause unnecessary headaches, roadblocks and delays throughout your implementation project.

Want to learn more?

Explore our industry page for more resources and advice on how SaaS can help drive your digital transformation.

Discover your peers' top tips for securing executive sponsorship.
Chief Student Services Officer
Curtin University

We kept the executive engaged by concentrating on the benefits to the university as a whole, rather than the costs.

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