When is the right time to write a business case?
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questions and answers
- Is this the right time to be writing a business case? Does it fulfil a need that the organisation has?
if yes: get on and do it! if no: then get a comms plan for priming the senior management and look into triage for collections. use this triage to help inform the business case. Consider getting digital preservation mandate onto the agenda of senior managers
- Have any digital preservation projects been undertaken successfully in the organization before now?
if yes: make sure you know the lessons learned. Why has it not been continued? what elements of infrastructure or staffing or expertise can be re-used if no: need to understand what has prevented them from developing, or why they failed.
- Has the senior management been primed to the issue of preservation?
if yes: the it's safe to proceed. You might want to get one of your champions to comment on a draft case if no: then identify a champion in senior management and talk to them informally. Use their feedback to help form the case and figure out how formal or informal the case needs to be.
- What evidence is there that senior management would be receptive to a business case?
if there is evidence then you need to build on their expectations if not, then examine the strategic plan, operational plan, mandates and regulatory and legal environment to find reasons why they would be more receptive.
- Thinking about the cycle of decision making and budgets in your organisation, there will be some points in this planning cycle in which is would be more useful to make a business case. Are you at that point yet?
if yes: get on and do it - make sure you know your deadlines and make sure that senior managers know that something is coming. make sure that its in the right format and also that any important stakeholders (ie IT department, records managers etc) are properly consulted and if possible put their commitment / endorsement along side the business case. if no: work out when is the right time. Use the interval to build momentum such as by priming senior managers, consulting relevant stakeholders, refining the empirical evidence that supports your case, talk to external agencies and colleagues about successes
- What can you do in the short term - can you triage your collection? Damage control
- What components are available now (staff/storage)? When will these components become available?
long term vision/approach
short term components - staff, storage, etc
- Is the technology mature enough to deliver preservation
- Will new solutions emerge that simplify the problem
- Is the organisation nimble enough to respond to a problem?
- What is the budget forecast - should we be looking to a short term project or a longer term commitment
further information link to maturity assessement tools and approaches (e.g. AIDA).