4 Failsafe Tips to Secure your BI Project Funding

No matter what industry you’re in, or the size of the budget there are a few tips that will definitely improve your chances of getting funding for your BI project approved in the upcoming budget cycle.

In almost every instance, preparing a business case is necessary, but the format is relatively flexible. Whether it is presented in an email, spreadsheet, or in a meeting, these tips will help you win project funding approval. Here, we’ve got some tips on how you can pull a solid business case for your BI project together.

Tip 1: Anticipate Business Needs

Whether it’s your boss, or your bosses’ boss that is approving budgets, you must illustrate how your proposed project aligns with strategic goals. Make sure they understand how the proposed initiative helps you, or them, or their boss and the organization to hit priority objectives.

To do this: sell the dream – get clear on ‘the why’ to build a strong case on spending and be prepared to demonstrate why your project should get time and resources over others. Cover some of the predictable ‘why’s’ – as much as possible, and ensure these reasons tie to bottom-line benefits:

  • Why do you need this for the business?
  • Whose problem does your project solve (a small group/role, entire departments or the organization)?
  • What is currently unsolved, or remains a problem without your idea/project – and what are the financial consequences of this?
  • What is at risk, or lost without it (does it cost the business on output, wasted money, time, resources, safety)?
  • Provide an idea of cost, time and resources required to complete the project: present a couple of options where possible and the cost and resources involved in each alternative.

Tip 2: Make your case

The best format for your business case is to lay out a reasonable argument. For that, you may need to present some objectivity – for example, by presenting a few alternatives for investment.

The best format for your funding request/argument is:

  • Why the spending is required or justified. You may identify a measurable problem within the business, and its influence on the bottom line, or on the business’ capability to deliver on strategy;
  • The options to the business;
  • A succinct evaluation of these alternatives so that your decision makers come to agree with your recommendation.

Tip 3: Timing is important

Budget planning usually takes three months; draft budgets are typically submitted 2.5 months in advance of a final cut, so you should have your business case presented at least two months ahead of the new financial period to have the best chance for funding approved in the upcoming budget cycle.

Tip 4: Winning Relevance with your Decision-Makers

It can be difficult to win budget approval if your management team doesn’t fully understand business intelligence. So, it’s important to bring your justification back to what matters to the management team and the organization (money) and how your recommendation can deliver massive returns on investment (ROI) either in cost savings or profits.

For instance, using our recommended format, if there’s consistent issues related to gaining access to decision-making data, you would:

  • Get started on that Funding Approval/Proposal now.
  • Present Your Business Problem: Illustrate the accumulative cost associated with your ongoing reporting issues. This may include the average time it takes to compile regular reports. Quantify the number of hours across a given period, putting a dollar figure on these amounts based on hard facts like staff hourly rates, adding up in 1 month, 1 year, 3 years… You may also want to list less quantitative matters, such as the business exposure to risk related to weak decision making.
  • Present alternatives to solving the issue of reliability. Are you simply in need of master data work, customisations on your existing BI software, or is a brand-new analytics application more appropriate? Some considerations may be using Excel as a stop gap, the re-implementation or configuration of your existing BI system, a new analytics application or training and consulting that can improve adoption rates across the organization.
  • And then demonstrate which of these alternatives is most appropriate for the business. Lay out how an investment in $x could alleviate or eliminate this cost to drive profitability for the business. You may also list some of the well-documented business benefits that can be attributed to improved decision making quality and efficiency, and the risk and inefficiencies associated with relying on free tools like Excel.

If you need assistance with a business case, Blueprint Intelligence can provide you with real-world examples of cost savings that can be attributed to healthy analytics. We also have free Health check that may help you quickly identify the root-cause of symptoms in the business so you can start to accurately address the issue; ask us for your free copy. And check out our $0 MINI BI Offer – a proof of concept or live demo with your data which will also help you get your project up and running.

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