How to Build a Business Case for Your Website Project
In many businesses, simply knowing your website needs to be improved does not automatically lead to budget being available and a project beginning. When tell-tale signs begin to show and the need for a website project has been recognised, the next step is to build a business case.
A strong business case can be the difference between an idea that doesn’t come to fruition and a project that produces a hard-working, powerhouse website for your business. But building a business case can be a large and pressuring undertaking. How do you convince your management team that investing in your digital experience is worth it?
In this blog
In this article, we share insight from first-hand experiences as to how to build a business case and communicate it effectively with stakeholders to secure the budget and resource you need.
- What’s involved in building a business case
- Build a business case
- Managing stakeholder expectation
- Technology solutions
- How a web agency could support you
What’s involved in building a business case?
A business case is the first step to get your web project underway. The elements commonly assessed during this process include the challenges you’re experiencing, the opportunities available alongside benefits, risks, costs, technical solutions, timescales, resource and the impact on the wider business.
When approached carefully, a business case can uncover answers to many important questions, all of which will help you gain the buy in and support you need. Your business should:
- Demonstrate the value of the project
- Present solid evidence to justify costs and show why it’s essential to growth
- Show how the website project supports the business goals
- Highlight the benefits a new website can deliver – both to internal and external users
Building a business case
Building an accurate and detailed business case will help you determine and document specific project goals, deliverables, features, deadlines and costs. Often, there may be an idea of what you hope the project will deliver but the factors that really matter to a business haven’t been considered.
Uncovering the right information
If you think you need to build a new website or rebuild an existing one, the first thing to consider is what you need your website to do for your business. This can be done by considering a series of questions designed to form an understanding of where to begin:
- What are the businesses long-term objectives?
- Who are your users? Think internal and external
- What are the main challenges that are being experienced?
- What are the priorities you would like to achieve out of this project?
- Are there any technologies you’re interested in exploring?
- Who should be involved within the project?
There’s no denying these are big questions that hold a lot of weight. It can be daunting to reach an answer, especially when you’re so close to the current solution and there are multiple stakeholders to consider. It’s worth considering working with an external digital partner who can take an unbiased approach to figure out what your needs truly are. Equipped to ask the right questions and gather the right information, a third-party partner can often support through standalone research.
Take our discovery process for example. Implementing interactive workshops and exercises, we cover four core areas - your business, your audience, your technology and your strategy - to fully understand the state of your website now versus where you want it to be. It is only through an extensive research and discovery process that a business can truly understand the breadth of a project allowing proposed budgets and timescales to be determined.
Armed with this insight, you’re in a stronger position to begin building a convincing business case. This also allows you to confidently manage business expectations.
For example, if your discovery has uncovered that what you need is a rebuild rather than a redesign, this will give you a much clearer guide on the budget and resource needed. It also gives you the ability to put together costings for higher and lower versions to present to the wider business.
This could even include exploring a minimum viable product (MVP) that allows you to hit core project objectives at a lower cost. With an MVP phase successfully completed, it opens the door to future phases where additions can be made through a retainer plan.
Propose technical solutions
The saying goes that knowledge is power and the same can be said for your website project. Your business case will be significantly stronger if you can propose technical solutions, timescales and budgets in advance of questions being raised.
Trying to reach an understanding of what technology will be best for the business can be a challenge. No CMS will offer a perfect solution. Almost any CMS could, in one way or another, help overcome your challenges to a certain degree. This can make it difficult for businesses to be confident in their technology choice which is why we advise asking three consecutive questions:
- What does my business need?
- What does my audience need?
- What technology is best suited to me achieving this?
Starting with the business and audience needs first will help you pinpoint the technology that will best support your project while giving you a more convincing argument for your choice.
Consider what it is you want your CMS to do for your business and how the website will support you in reaching this as this is most likely what key stakeholders and management will be interested to know. Questions that can get you thinking along the right lines could include:
- Who will be using the CMS in your internal teams?
- What will they be using the CMS for?
- What does the CMS need to be capable of doing – both for the end users and for the business as a whole?
- Do you need a more extensive solution such as a DXP that encompasses marketing tools?
- Have you considered your CMS in terms of today and in the future?
- What are your long-term objectives?
- What purpose will your CMS serve for your business? Is it a content repository or a more complicated piece of architecture?
- Do you have an approximate budget in mind?
Beginning with these exploratory questions is an effective place to kick off your project and help you uncover the ideal CMS solution to propose.
If you have no idea where to begin with your CMS choice, you may want to lean on the support of a web agency to help. We choose to work with CMS’ that provide the functionality to create a tailored solution designed for the exact challenges you want to overcome. Find out more about this process in our blog: Selecting The Right CMS For Your Business.
How an agency can support you earlier than you might think
Putting a business case together that’s both convincing and realistic can be a hard task for one person, especially if your expertise is limited. Many businesses assume that they need to get sign off internally before engaging with an agency to start a project. However, from experience, we know that engaging with an agency earlier can hugely benefit how your project plays out.
With experience, insight and knowledge to share, an effective agency will be able to guide you through a structured process that’s see a robust business case formed. As a web agency with over 20 years of experience, we’ve supported many businesses across many industries in overcoming their challenges. As part of the process, we’ve regularly been involved from day one, leading organisations through the crafting of a business case that helps them get the buy-in they need to succeed.
Whether your site needs migrating to a new CMS, a redesign is becoming unavoidable, your websites needs have changed, or you’re struggling to pinpoint how to get more from your website, we can support you. Get in touch with our team of experts to find out how we can help you create the website your business needs.
Hear it from those we work with…
“We approached NetConstruct in early 2021 to discuss a replacement CMS. Over a 3-day workshop we worked with the team to explore our organisation, its objectives, current digital approach, pain points, requirements and our future development road map.
The workshop was very valuable and shortly afterwards we were provided with an analysis of the options and a recommendation on the most suitable approach which enabled us to prepare a costed proposal for consideration.
The whole process from first contact to receipt of the proposal was smooth and professional. The NetConstruct team were approachable, knowledgeable, responsive and also demonstrated that they placed a lot of emphasis on the needs of our organisation rather than their own convenience.
I would thoroughly recommend working with them and for adopting the approach described above.” - David West, Head of Communities & Operations, The Business Continuity Institute