The Strategic Case for Change – Identifying the Business Need


We live in a world of rapid technology change. It is often the case, that an organisation seeking to transform their services become very apprehensive about how much technology will shift during transformation. Whilst understandable, this mindset shouldn’t really be an issue, providing strategic planning initiatives truly understand the business need when formulating the case for change.

A vital step on the journey to transformation is identifying the current state of affairs. Traditionally, with IT-led transformation projects, this involves drawing a picture of the current IT service, followed by a long list of problems associated with it. Examples being:

“The infrastructure is old and suffers from lack of investment”

“Our users complain about lack of mobility, its like a herd of wildebeest exiting the building at 5pm”.

Yes, its important to know and understand the limitations of today, but what keeps getting missed, is a view on the capabilities of the “as-is” state. When looking at current arrangements, the picture built should be accompanied by a descriptive of the capabilities it provides and the value it has delivered over the years. Starting from a positive baseline encourages better thought in terms of reviewing the strategic case for change. As human beings, we tend to think negatively if criticised and having a negative mindset right at the start of the transformation journey might not be the best place to begin.

The Business Need

Identifying the business need is where the problems of today should be articulated. Once current capabilities and value have been ascertained, it is important to identify where the gap is when considering the strategic case for change. In order to get to where the business needs to go, limitations relating to the current business need is where it is best to describe them in detail. Business need is often confused with business requirements, a bit like benefits are often confused with outcomes. The business need is an overview of a projection of current and future demand, along with present deficiencies in being able to meet that demand. This is where the gap is identified, which in turn drives an important aspect of the strategic case for change.

It is vital that organisations undertake an honest appraisal, backed by solid evidence to support the case for change. Current demand in light of existing arrangements will identify the problems and challenges associated to the existing IT service or environment, particularly where the evidence provided is compelling.  What takes away the overall problem with regards to the rapid and constant change in technology, is a clear view of what future demand will look like. Whilst in most cases, it is not easy to resonate clearly into the future, being that we lack the crystal ball, businesses can make an informed view which removes some degree of uncertainty. Solid analysis of user trends, potential technology shifts and projections of the level of demand for services, supplied with analytical evidence will determine what the future may look like. This in turn, helps shape the strategic case for change.

In following this process, it will be much easier to identify what the potential scope of the project will be in business terms. This will help remove apprehension to strategic transformation projects.


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