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1 Strategic Approaches and Business Cases Internet Librarian International October 2007 Ulla de Stricker, President, de Stricker Associates (Canada)

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Presentation on theme: "1 Strategic Approaches and Business Cases Internet Librarian International October 2007 Ulla de Stricker, President, de Stricker Associates (Canada)"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Strategic Approaches and Business Cases Internet Librarian International October 2007 Ulla de Stricker, President, de Stricker Associates (Canada) Armand Brevig, Global Category Leader, Scientific & Business Information, AstraZeneca (UK)

2 2 Business Cases: Why and How Ulla de Stricker

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4 4 A major challenge consistently encountered Business reality: Those who "sign the checks" need solid, compelling reasons why they should support our initiatives / budget requests If a solid, compelling case cannot be made for an investment … why would they?

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6 6 What we will cover The Why: Decision makers' needs The What: Elements it must contain - the "recipe"

7 7 Introduction: The Why Decision makers' top concerns: Make it easy for me to say yes Help me march the proposal up the line Protect me from the risk of championing a weak case

8 8 The Drivers of Decision Making Things are not done "just because" - they are done because they … –Address a problem or opportunity –Enhance image, profits, … –Help meet agreed goals –Or otherwise support strategy

9 9 What Motivates Decision Makers? Intrinsic: –Meeting existing business goals –Achieving "over and above" –Earning a reputation –Grooming for promotion Extrinsic: –Avoiding unnecessary hassle/risk –Being close to retirement

10 10 Understanding Motivation Awareness of the individual perceptual context helps choose the "pitch" But we must also demonstrate an understanding of other factors –Competitive pressures –Budget cuts –Imminent retirements –etc

11 11 Questions to Ask Throughout How will my idea look in the current business environment? How will my idea mesh with decision maker's motivations and organizational strategy? Is the timing right?

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13 13 Document Scope must Fit the Culture Corporate culture dictates detail / depth / length of project justification documents : –3 pager of bullets –8 pager with brief narrative inserted (+ appendix) –full 25 pager (+ appendix)

14 14 The What As a TOOL to enable someone else, without the detailed insight we have, to arrive at a business decision … … the business case contains a specific sequence of elements

15 15 Rocky Road… But Straight

16 16 Chapter 1: Exec Summary This section may be all that is read Tip: Write this piece AFTER the other chapters are done Concise statement of the precise action proposed Drivers: What we are fixing or reaching for Effort and investment: $, time, people Benefits Strategic alignment Readiness to proceed

17 17 Chapter 2: Background This section orients readers why the case was developed and (we hope) motivates them to read it "This is why you need to care" What is the problem, need, or opportunity (PNO) Evidence and metrics Origins of the PNO Risks and negative consequences of continuing status quo (with metrics) Any previous remedial action or initiative that failed, and why

18 18 Chapter 3: Options This section orients readers as to the possibilities considered Note: We are not discussing cost yet Outline of the full range of options Reasons why some have been eliminated as not viable Details about the viable ones –Key features –Key pros/cons –Key benefits –Key constraints

19 19 Chapter 4: Environmental Analysis This section assures readers "we are not alone" Internal: Who else experienced a similar PNO What was done or is being done, with what outcomes External: Who else experienced a similar PNO What they are doing about it, with what outcomes Lessons learned

20 20 Chapter 5: Proposed Approach & Method We explain, in detail, the viable option we recommend, and how the initiative will unfold We propose to … by … Scope of activity: –Pilot or full scale –Timeline, human resources –Any other departments / inputs involved Critical success factors: –Cooperation from … –Technology, facilities, skills, etc Implementation steps: –Step 1, Step 2, etc –Timeline to completion Measuring success: –Methods for gauging how close we got to the goals

21 21 Chapter 6: Budget and Cost Analysis Only now do we get to the cost question - it must be seen in the light of all the foregoing Anticipated direct and indirect costs –Salaries/benefits; consulting fees –Purchases/licenses/equipment –Training; materials –IT support; facilities Implications for existing or next-year budget –Options for cost diversion or sharing –Discretionary funds? Staffing effort –New hire(s) & job description(s) –Seconded/reassigned personnel & length of involvement

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23 23 Chapter 7: Benefits Here's what readers will get for the investment Benefits may be the inverse or mirrors/echoes of the PNO statements "Measurable to a degree" benefits –time savings, risk reduction, cost cutting, apply labor to more profitable activity, etc Estimated ROI –Challenging for cost centers such as libraries or intranet shops, but it is worth the effort to calculate –E.g. # staff X hours saved X avg hourly comp "Soft" benefits –Better informed / more timely decisions –Enhanced competitiveness –Better-leveraged investments in technology or information

24 24 ROI Anecdotes We may all remember such spectaculars … Project all set to go to investigate ways to reduce precious metal loss at metallurgical lab - estimated $3 Million Knowledge worker found Russian article - could read enough to suspect it was relevant Modest cost of translation Yes, it was exactly the process needed Project not necessary!

25 25 Example of ROI Estimation Although not provable, numbers can be effective in demonstrating we have done our homework. Proposition: Hire 1 information professional to assist 100 knowledge workers and to improve the usability of the intranet Based on an audit of the 100 knowledge workers' current practices using the intranet …

26 26 Example of ROI Estimation, cont'd 60-80% (= avg 70%) say they spend hrs/mo in avg. 10 searches/mo looking for internal documents (not always finding them) 40-60% in addition feel they don't have the right documents to hand when they make decisions - but no time to keep looking - element of uncertainty They estimate in 10% of search events, critical information is missed, and unnecessary work is done, avg. 1-5 days per event (we'll use 3 for calculations)

27 27 Caveat Any illustrative number crunching must be backed up be credible assumptions / measures / averages There are no guarantees and absolutes Calculations cannot account for serendipity, lucky coincidence, exceptions, project and seasonal variations, personal memory, etc etc Benefits such as "information professionals train knowledge workers to know when to do their own digging vs. seek help" are likewise difficult to quantify

28 28 Proposition Assistance to knowledge workers and improvement in intranet usability will reduce the amount of … Wasted KW time in searching Wasted KW time doing unnecessary work or pursuing alternate routes to needed documents And will in addition … Improve the quality of decision making, speed project completion time, etc

29 29 Example of ROI Estimation, cont'd Ignoring vacation time: 12 mos * 12 hrs * 70% of 100 = 10,800 hrs * avg comp of $75/hr = $756,000 cost of "hunting time" 12 mos * 10 searches * 70% of 100 = 8,400 hunts, of which … 10% (840) miss critical info to generate 3 days extra work = 2,520 work days that could be devoted to productive work * avg comp of $600/day = $1.512 million cost of the extra work

30 30 Example of ROI Estimation, cont'd Investment - 1 information professional - at $90K/yr - three areas of gain: (1) Could reduce "hunting time" by 50% by improving intranet = $378K savings That is, the IP salary has paid for itself, with $288K saving "left over" (2) Value of extra work avoided = $1.5 Million (3) Could train KW to be more proficient in using intranet tools = additional productivity gains, lowered uncertainty

31 31 Chapter 8: Strategic Alignment This section assures readers we are concerned about aligning with overall direction How the proposed action aligns with the formal strategic goals of the organization What stakeholder groups will be most affected How it may support additional initiatives and stakeholders Objection-anticipatory information –List specific objections that could be raised, and deal with each Risk-mitigation information –Acknowledge risks and show how they will be minimized or dealt with

32 32 Chapter 9: Readiness to Proceed We stress overall organizational receptivity and what needs to happen now Factors that enable proceeding immediately –"The stakeholders are asking for this" "Go" elements: Approval, access to funds, access to people, etc Any timing concerns: If project not initiated by X date, these risks exist Negative consequences of such deadline related risks

33 33 Appendix: Supporting Material Keen readers will appreciate this "foundation" Examples: List of external consultations Other organizations already doing what we are proposing References to or copies of published studies, articles, statistics

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35 35 Checklist - Our Own Before releasing the Business Case document, we ask ourselves these questions Have relevant colleagues reviewed the document as devil's advocates? Is the PNO as "bad/urgent" as we claim? Would we support the case if we were in the readers' shoes? If not, why not? Would there be a much cheaper way to get 80% of the claimed benefit? Is the narrative too detailed/jargony? Could some go in the appendix? Concrete data, numbers wherever possible?

36 36 Checklist - Readers Before releasing the Business Case document, we imagine readers thinking as follows, and ensure the document contains the answers I wasn't aware of any issue If I do nothing, what's the best/worst scenario? I see some benefits, but will all that $ REALLY grow profits / increase market reach / etc? Will I be laughed out of the meeting if I champion this case? Am I a guinea pig? How will we know we got our money's worth?

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38 38 Thank You … feel free to be in touch!

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