Shark Top Tips - Frequently asked questions about business case costs and benefits

This article answers the top questions that we have been asked about the benefits and costs that go into a business case.

Shark Finesse
April 12, 2022
Shark Top Tips

We have been in the world of business cases and value management for over 20 years. During that time we have been asked many questions about the benefits and costs that go into a business case so we thought we would share the top ones with you!

Q: Should I include costs in my customer business case that are not for our solution?

A: If your customer wants to include other disruption costs in the business case then you absolutely should!

There may be additional costs that your customer will incur by purchasing your solution that their board will want covered by the business case. Examples of this may include:

  • Overtime associated with implementing a new solution
  • Staff training time - time taken away from revenue generating activities

Q: Should I include intangible benefits in a business case?

A: Yes, you absolutely should; it may still be important to the company and their Board. Example reasons for including intangible benefits include:

  • Strategic value to the company
  • Legal or business mandate
  • Employee morale

Q: What do I do if my customer can't give me accurate data for the business case? Is it OK to make assumptions?

A: This is something that most people who are creating business cases will face at some point. Sometimes your customer may not be able to give you the same figure that is in their own accounts, however if they have given you a number that they are happy for you to include, go with that! As long as they recognise it and agree to it, it really doesn't matter if it's "right".

Q: Is it OK to put a 'zero' for a benefit in a business case?

A: Yes! Sometimes you will be building a business case with your customer and during the conversation you discover a benefit to adopting your solution that the customer (and perhaps you) had not thought about.

They may ask you to include this benefit in the business case, but value it at zero as they can see that it may be valid but, they want the business case to work without adding a value to it.

Q: Does pushing out the start month of a benefit really make a difference to the business case?

A: Absolutely. We say this for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it's not realistic to assume that your customer will start to see the benefits of your solution from the day they generate the purchase order. You need to allow for implementation time that could include solution configuration, training etc.

Secondly, by delaying the start month of when your customer is likely to start achieving the benefit you are allowing them some breathing room, and therefore making the benefit easier for your customer to sponsor.

Don't forget, when your customer agrees to a benefit with you they are also confirming to their Board that they think this benefit is achievable so the Board will want to see these results.

Q: How many benefits should I include in a business case?

A: Our recommendation for this is typically around 6-7 benefits per business case. Make sure all of the benefits are well balanced so that the business case still works if one of the benefits is removed by your customer during future reviews. In other words, don't let your business case rely on just one huge benefit!

Do you have any other questions? Contact us if you do, we are always here to help!

What we do

At Shark Finesse we have developed an enterprise-grade cloud application to help businesses standardise and simplify their value engagements across the entire customer journey.

Shark, a business value engagement platform used by 1000’s of customer-facing teams globally (e.g. pre-sales, sales, value teams, and customer success) is easy to use, intuitive and usable directly with the customer to negotiate the likely business returns from investing in a solution.

By adopting the Shark approach you will fundamentally transform conversations with new and existing customers, close more business, and differentiate from the competition.