How To Present A Foolproof Business Case To Start Your Industry 4.0 Journey

You're convinced that your organisation needs to start its Industry 4.0 journey. The next step is to convince your boss and your senior leadership team that it's time to take that leap into the Internet Age. 

Here we layout the business case you can present to decision makers to get the support and funding you need. Good luck! 

1. Executive Summary

This section should provide general information on the issues surrounding the business problem and the proposed project or initiative created to address it. Usually, this section is completed last after all other sections of the business case have been written. This is because the executive summary is exactly that, a summary of the detail that is provided in subsequent sections of the document.

1.1 Issue

This section of the business case should briefly describe the business problem that the proposed project will address. This section should not describe how the problem will be addressed, only what the problem is.

1.2 Anticipated outcomes

This section should describe the anticipated outcome if the proposed project or initiative is implemented. It should include how the project will benefit the business and describe what the end state of the project should be.

1.3 Recommendation

This section of our business case template summarises the approach for how the project will address the business problem. This section should also describe how desirable results will be achieved by moving forward with the project.

1.4 Justification

This section justifies why the recommended project should be implemented and why it was selected over other alternatives. Where applicable, quantitative support should be provided and the impact of not implementing the project should also be stated.

2. Business Case Analysis Team

This section of the business case template describes the roles of the team members who developed the business case. It is imperative that participants and roles are clearly defined for the business case as well as throughout the life of the project.

3. Problem Definition

3.1 Problem statement

This section describes the business problem this project was created to address. The problem may be process, technology, or product/service oriented. This section should not include any discussion related to the solution.

3.2 Organisational impact

This section describes how the proposed project will modify or affect the organisational processes, tools, hardware, and/or software. It should also explain any new roles which would be created or how existing roles may change as a result of the project.

3.3 Technology migration

This section provides a high-level overview of how the new technology will be implemented and how data from the legacy technology will be migrated. This section should also explain any outstanding technical requirements and obstacles which need to be addressed.

4. Project Overview

This section describes high-level information about the project to include a description, goals and objectives, performance criteria, assumptions, constraints and milestones. This section consolidates all project-specific information into one chapter and allows for an easy understanding of the project since the baseline business problem, impacts and recommendations have already been established.

4.1 Project description

This section describes the approach the project will use to address the business problem(s). This includes what the project will consist of, a general description of how it will be executed, and the purpose of it.

4.2 Goals and objectives

This part of the template lists the business goals and objectives which are supported by the project and how the project will address them.

4.3 Project performance

This section describes the measures that will be used to gauge the project’s performance and outcomes as they relate to key resources, processes, or services.

4.4 Project assumptions

This section lists the preliminary assumptions for the proposed project. As the project is selected and moves into detailed project planning, the list of assumptions will most likely grow as the project plan is developed. However, for the business case, there should be a preliminary list from which to build at minimum.

4.5 Project constraints

This section of the business case template lists the preliminary constraints for the proposed project. As the project is selected and moves into detailed project planning, the list of constraints will most likely grow as the project plan is developed. However, for the business case, there should be at minimum a preliminary list from which to build.

4.6 Major project milestones

This section of our template lists the major project milestones and their target completion dates. Since this is the business case, these milestones and target dates are general and in no way final. It is important to note that as the project planning moves forward, a baselined schedule including all milestones will be completed.

5. Strategic Alignment

All projects should support the organisation’s strategy and strategic plans in order to add value and maintain executive and organisational support. This section of the business case template provides an overview of the organisational strategic plans that are related to the project. This includes the strategic plan, what the plan calls for, and how the project supports the strategic plan.

6. Cost Benefit Analysis

Many consider this one of the most important parts of a business case as it is often the costs or savings a project yields which win final approval to go forward. It is important to quantify the financial benefits of the project as much as possible in the business case. This is usually done in the form of a cost benefit analysis. The purpose of this is to illustrate the costs of the project and compare them with the benefits and savings to determine if the project is worth pursuing.

Statistics we suggest, based off numerous projects, include:
  • Increase OEE efficiency by over 20% through improvements across equipment
    maintenance, real-time monitoring, alerting and reporting of machine performance.
  • Reduce waste by over 30% with less product defects through real-time monitoring,
    alerting and reporting of production quality with traceability based on product
  • Reduce implementation costs by over 50% through utilising a single supplier offering
    modern and flexible new technologies, all based on a pay-per-use model.
  • Start to realise value from new technologies within eight weeks.

7. Alternative Analysis

All business problems may be addressed by any number of alternative projects. While the business case is the result of having selected one such option, a brief summary of considered alternatives should also be included—one of which should be the status quo, or doing nothing. The reasons for not selecting the alternatives should also be included.

8. Approvals

The business case is a document with which approval is granted or denied to move forward with the creation of a project. Therefore, the document should receive approval or disapproval from its executive review board.


Before presenting your Business Case, download our Industry 4.0 Handbook.

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