Original Research

The business case thrives on relevant information

Carl Marnewick, Frank Einhorn
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 21, No 1 | a978 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v21i1.978 | © 2019 Carl Marnewick, Frank Einhorn | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 March 2018 | Published: 25 March 2019

About the author(s)

Carl Marnewick, Department of Applied Information Systems, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Frank Einhorn, Department of Applied Information Systems, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Background: In recent years, much has been written about how to present a compelling business case. But, if just one critical piece of information is overlooked, it can lead to the wrong decision being taken. This article aims to minimise the risk. It stems from research conducted into how the business case can be used more effectively to improve the success rate of information technology (IT) or information technology or business (ITB) projects. The business case, usually a document, indicates whether the investment in money and resources is justified, prior to or at any time during the project. ‘Effective use’ involves using certain business case processes throughout the ITB project’s lifetime. Here, the life cycle refers only to the IT component of the project. The lifetime is longer, extending from initial proposal until all benefits have been realised. However, it is found that the processes are not easy to adhere to, a probable cause being the lack of relevant information.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine what information is needed to drive the business case processes before, during and after the IT deliverables are produced.

Method: The information types are derived from a structured review of literature related to the business case.

Results: Details of the information types to create the business case are presented and related back to the business case content elements. Further information types that only arise during planning and subsequent tracking of the business case are also presented.

Conclusion: For sound project governance, underpinned by effective use of the business case, it is essential to know what information needs to be gathered throughout the project’s lifetime. While knowing the processes and their relevant information is essential, further research is needed into the organisational factors that either facilitate, or inhibit such information gathering.



business case; content analysis; process groups


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