Social Media Business CasePurposeThe purpose of this tool is to help you design a Business Case for an investment in a SocialMedia program. A Business Case is a formal management communication document tojustify and plan a project or investment by providing an opportunity overview, key successfactors, assumptions & decision-making criterion, business impact analysis, sensitivityanalysis, risks, contingency plans, and action-oriented recommendations.How to Use this TemplateComplete the following sections with your project team and/or stakeholders. Cut & pastethis information into a document that reflects your corporate image, and deliver yourBusiness Case to senior executives to sponsor the project.
Title Page [Insert Company Name or Logo] Business Case – (insert project title) [Insert Completion Date] Completed By: [Insert Project Manager Name] Completed For: [Insert Project Sponsor Name]
Table of Contents1. Executive Summary 5 1.1 What Problem does this Social Media Business Case Solve?2. Opportunity Overview & Key Success Factors 5 2.1 Opportunity Overview 2.2 Project Purpose 2.3 Project Scope 2.4 Project Schedule 2.5 Key Success Factors3. Assumptions & Decision-Making Criterion8 3.1 Assumptions 3.2 Use-case Scenarios & Options 3.3 Recommended Decision-Making Criterion 3.4 Information Sources & Research Methodology4. Business Impact Analysis 9 4.1 Cost/Benefit Analysis
4.2 Qualitative/Intangible Business Benefits 4.3 Required Resources for Implementation5. Risks & Contingency Plans 11 5.1 Key Risks to Mitigate 5.2 Contingency Plans6. Recommendation 12 6.1 Action Plan1. Executive Summary1.1 What Problem does this Social Media Business Case Solve?Provide a brief description of the problems that this Social Media business case wasdesigned to solve. For example: Budget Constraints Decrease in Traffic or Search Engine Ranking Content/Research Collaboration Issues Limited End-User Reach Declining Customer Satisfaction Scores Poor Product/Service Feedback & Participation Networking Visibility Marketing Program Integration & Measurement2. Opportunity Overview & Key Success Factors
2.1 Opportunity Overview & Project PurposeIn this section, put a positive spin on the solution you are recommendations. You need toobtain buy-in from your project sponsor, and projects that clearly fit organizational goalsare more likely to be supported.Document your vision of the impact your solution will have on the organization. Writefrom each key stakeholder perspective.For example: Senior management: Cost effective solution, transparency Sales: More information on potential prospects, shorter sales cycle Marketing: Tighter marketing program integration Customer Service: Better visibility, quicker response times IT: Minimal support required2.2 Project ScopeAdditionally, document what is in scope for this project and explicitly state what is not inscope. If you are planning on a phased approach, provide a summary of what each phasewill look like from your perspective. Consider how many departments/stakeholders will beinvolved; then, document them. For example:A Social Media program typically involves using highly accessible and scalable publishingtechniques across multiple online channels. Our project will be implemented in phases,with staff training included in each phase. Phase 1 – Internal/External Audit: Review competitors, our existing efforts, industry/market trends, customer habits, etc. Phase 2 – Planning & Scheduling: Carefully plan the Social Media program, select channels, create a posting schedule, select contributors, dates, times, topics, etc.
Phase 3 – Implementation: Kick off the Social Media program, set up selected channels, start using & posting to selected channels, etc Phase 4 – Integrated Marketing: Use Social Media with existing channels, run promotions, use email marketing, contests, etc. Phase 5 – Reporting & Maintenance: Reports will be created, based on management needs to monitor sales, customer satisfaction, website traffic, etc. Executive dashboard KPIs may include: Social Network Reach, Blog Postings, Referral Traffic, New Twitter Followers, etc. Ongoing Maintenance will include: New Postings, Social Media Application Updates, User Interface, etc.2.3 Project ScheduleFollowing is a sample project schedule that you can customize further:Project Milestones DeadlineRFP Delivered to Consultants February 1, 2012RFP Question Period Ends March 1, 2012RFP Close Date April 1, 2012Conduct Consultant Evaluations April 15, 2012Award Contract to Consultant April 30, 2012Phase 1 June 1, 2012Phase 2 July 1, 2012Phase 3 August 1, 2012Phase 4 August 1, 2012Phase 5 July 1, 2012
2.4 Key Success FactorsKey Success Factors are the most important items that need to work for you to ensureproject success. Examples include: adequate budget & resources, skill sets, time to do theproject amongst other priorities, project sponsorship.Key Success Factors Justification Budget is required for consultation and training to ensure success of the project and staff take-up1. Budget Management buy-in is required to ensure program2. Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, success and to ensure staff take-upManagement, IT Buy-In To ensure system and project is aligned with corporate goals, and to communicate with staff3. Executive sponsorship Time will be required of management for detailed business analysis, training, on-going contribution4. Resources and sufficient Marketing and IT resources will need to be allocated on an ongoing basis to ensure success3. Assumptions & Decision-Making Criterion3.1 AssumptionsList all the assumptions you made when creating this business case. Some examples ofassumptions include: costs, savings, incremental returns, pricing, volume, or resourcerequirements such as expected consulting costs.3.2 Use-Case Scenarios & Options
Contrast and compare various options, such as “Do Nothing”, “Conduct a Pilot”, “ConductFull-scale Implementation” or “Build Internally”. This section should provide assurance thatthe business will not fall apart should it be decided that moving to your recommendationis not feasible. Your goal is to economically justify your investment to generate returns.3.3 Recommended Decision-Making CriterionThis section is useful for proposing the decision-making criterion that you believe a seniorexecutive should consider when making a decision. The idea is to make it very easy for yoursponsor to agree with your proposal, given that you have already completed the majority of therequired critical thinking.Following is a suggested prioritized list of proposed evaluation criterion: 1. Revenue and customer benefits 2. Cost-savings 3. Management performance insight 4. Time to deploy 5. Cost 6. Integration with Existing systems 7. Use Cases in our Industry3.4 Information SourcesWhere did you go to learn more about this opportunity? Are your sources of informationcredible? What process did you take to do the research? Some examples include: vendordiscussions, whitepapers, analyst firms, Google searching, conferences, peer-to-peernetworking, and consultants.4. Business Impact AnalysisThis section will outline the costs and benefits of the proposed initiative. Both quantitativeand qualitative (intangible) benefits need to be documented here. Additionally, providing a
“High/Low” adds an element of sensitivity analysis, which provides both a conservativeand optimistic outlook for your proposed initiative.4.1 Incremental Cost/Benefit AnalysisDetermine the projected incremental costs/benefits over a 3-year period. Insert your costcategories, a description of each, and a high/low estimate for each. Divide total benefitsby total costs and multiply by 100 to obtain a %. Complete this worksheet for each use-case scenario, and/or project option. Cost/Benefit Analysis WorksheetProject Costs High LowCostsConsulting FeesImplementation CostsMaintenanceTrainingEtc. Total CostsProject Benefits High LowBenefitsReduction in direct marketing expenditures Total Benefits % Benefits/Costs4.2 Qualitative/Intangible Business BenefitsWhat are the qualitative or intangible benefits that were not captured in the cost/benefitanalysis worksheet?
1. Better customer relationships 2. Greater visibility into operations & performance 3. Increase in website traffic 4. Increase in customer loyalty 5. Faster service response and resolution time 6. Insert other qualitative/intangible benefits here4.3 Required Resources for ImplementationWhat are the required resources in terms of budget, staffing, consulting, or otherexpenditures related to moving forward with this business case?For example: Budget, per section 4.1 Staff Resources: Administrator, Contributors, etc. – X hours/week Management in Sales, Marketing, Customer Service: commitment to cooperate with IT on business requirements, training, and roll-out to their staff5. Risks & Contingency PlansThis section will outline the key risks that need to be mitigated and provide contingencyplans for each identified risk. Risks include: lack of end-user adoption, project over-time/over-budget, technical risk, and senior management commitment.5.1 Key Risks to MitigateFor example: 1. Lack of senior management commitment
2. Lack of end-user adoption 3. Technical risk5.2 Contingency PlansWhat is the contingency plan for each of the preceding risks?For example: To ensure commitment of managers in sales, marketing, and customer service departments, there will be a virtual committee/team formed for the Social Media program. This team will be lead by X, and their job will be to identify specific business requirements, ensure two-way communication with staff, identify training requirements, and measure benefits gained. To ensure buy-in from staff, the committee will be responsible for establishing a communication and change plan with a phased implementation. Management will also communicate upcoming changes with staff, highlighting the benefits of using Social Media to staff and customers. After each phase of implementation, the group will gather feedback from the staff to incorporate updates or changes in the next phase. Ensuring our current IT infrastructure is compatible with the various channels and applications selected will mitigate technical risks.6. RecommendationWhat is your proposed course of action? Insert your recommendations here.6.1 Action Plan
1. Approve budget2. Approve staff resource allocation to project3. Approve formation of Social Media Management Committee to proceed with managing and reporting on the progress of the project