It is essential that a business case addresses the broader context in which it is set. An analysis of the external environment will help identify and clarify the external factors influencing and driving the business case. It is also important to identify how the business case aligns with the organisational strategy and it's implications for the collection and internal stucture, processes and culture within the organisation. It is often the case that there is not one clear driver for investment in a DP activity, but a combination of several drivers for investment such as legal and economic drivers or the benefits for the organisation in question. Whatever the combination of drivers, it should be possible to prioritise these through alignment with the organisational strategy. Another approach, for organisations who have already embedded DP into their orgainsation's strategy, may be to outline the backgound to, or origin of, the business case, outlining how the business case links to current or past projects, ensures continuity of service provision, or achieves competitive parity.
- Analyse the broader environment.
- A useful first step in identifying the drivers for your business case is to analyse the external environment to identify factors influencing your business case. One simple tool to do this is a Political, Eonomic, Social, Technological (PEST) Analysis.
- Historical context.
- Identify relationships to other projects.
- How does this business case relate to past activities? Does it impact on our relationship to other organisations or external projects?
- Create a Competitive Array.
- Institutional reputation is another recognised driver for investment in digital preservation. If your organisation is a knowledge leader in this field, it may be motivated to remain so. If it is lagging behind other comparable organisations then a driver for the business case may be the achievement of competitive parity.
- Who are the comparable organisations in your field?
- Who are your customers and what are their expectations?
- How do you compare?
- Identify and prioritise the main drivers for your business case.
- Align your business case with your organisation's mission, strategy and values.
External drivers/Wider landscape: Drawn from the PEST analysis, these are some of the drivers and barriers which may need to be prioritised:
- Digital society
- Economic climate, ROI
What are the economic pressures driving you to invest in DP? Within the current environment negative economic pressures will be driving organisations to be more efficient, but also to ensure that they are maximising on the value of their collection. Is there a potential market for the service being proposed within the business case?
- Changing user expectations
Have or will the way that users interact with your service change?
Is or will your organisation be legally mandated to accept deposits of digital content? For many organisation this is one of the main drivers for investment in DP.
- Mandates/Compliance with funder policies
This is a particularly pertinent issue for research institutions and universities. Increasingly such institutions are developing and implementing policies for the depositing of electronic thesis, preprints of journal articles and research data. Funders are also beginning to mandate that researchers deposit their outputs in an open access repository.
- Trust: importance of DP to institutional reputation e.g. for transparency of research results, longer term availability of collections
- Increase in digital deposits (measurable), legal mandates,
- Role/Mission: What do we do? What are we here to do? How does DP fit in?
- Competitive parity: how do we compare?