In large organisations, there are many different teams vying for website development resource, not least to improve SEO performance. From adding structured data to implementing breadcrumbs, chances are you’ll need a business case to get work actioned in a timely fashion.
Business cases help to sign off and prioritise work. But if your case is weak, it could get rejected at the early stages, or shoved to the bottom of the pile. I’ve been in situations where site changes were scheduled for years down the line. So, I went back and built more robust business cases. Next month, they were ticked off.
Creating a business case can be tricky. You know why you want to do the work and you know it’s going to have a positive impact, but getting other stakeholders onboard can take a lot of time and effort.
It’s difficult to get it right first time and there’s likely to be pushback from at least one stakeholder. I’ve had my fair share of frustrations, but I’ve learned from each pushback and now have far more success with getting changes made.
Here are my five tips for creating a business case and pushing it through your internal teams.
Every company’s process is different when it comes to signing off and implementing change. Some can be speedy and agile, while others can be complex and time-consuming. Unfortunately, I’ve come across a lot of the latter, but I’ve found that understanding the necessary process, information and people involved is key to speeding things up.
Build relationships with other teams. This will help educate them on your expertise, while also empowering them to fight for the change you’re after. This also works the other way round – you should think about how your change will help them reach their own objectives.
For example, let’s say there are two teams with separate objectives:
Digital marketing team objective: increase sales and revenue from organic search
Digital operations team objective: improve customer experience
Now let’s assume you’re in the digital marketing team and you want to push a change through that will likely result in reduced page load time. You know it’ll need a business case to get this past the digital operations team. It’s easy to go into detail on how it’ll reach your objectives, but how can it also improve customer experience? And what metrics/estimates could you use to back this up?
After a quick win for a page speed business case? This Google tool could help.
You should also consider your stakeholders’ constraints. These usually fall within two main categories: finance or resource. If it’s a resourcing barrier, find out whether there’s anything you could do to help. Could your team front-load some of the work? Is there any guidance or useful documentation you could provide? Alternatively, if you work with an agency, could they take on some of the tasks?
If it’s a financial constraint, how could you help reduce the cost? Is there a phase one approach that costs less? If so, start with this, and once you’ve shown your initial results, you could move on to phase two.
Continually educate stakeholders – not just when you’re looking to implement changes. Whether it’s through formal training sessions or just a regular drop-in, give your colleagues the opportunity to ask questions. It will show your knowledge as well as the importance of your field.
Let’s use site speed as an example. You have some script changes you want to implement and you know that site speed is important for SEO, but to a stakeholder, reducing speed by half a second could mean nothing. Running internal SEO training will help others understand the impact.
You’d be surprised how often deadlines can be changed. Your request isn’t always top priority, and ad-hoc work can bump it further down the list. Understand the dependencies on your request. If something is going to be late, what impact does this have on the other elements? Can you get started with another part of the process? For example, if your request is to implement schema mark-up and the developer has prioritised another urgent task, you could create schema mark-up for additional pages in the meantime. So, when the developer comes to work on it, you can get more pages done in one go.
No matter the size of a project, it’s important to have a point of contact.
Request regular catch-ups to keep your task on everyone’s mind – this should mean it’s less likely to be forgotten about or moved down the list. Project management tools like Jira, Basecamp and Trello are great for tracking work, and they help to keep all stakeholders in the loop.
I can’t emphasise this enough. Once the work is complete, you’ll (hopefully) be happy to see the results. But don’t just celebrate these within the team, share them to empower others. Not only will they see the value in the project they may have worked on, it’ll also help educate them on any necessary future changes.
Sharing previous results will also help build future business cases and save you time when researching and forecasting again.
At iCrossing, we have plenty of experience working with clients to push through in-house business cases. Every business is different and we love getting stuck in, encouraging teams to embrace change contact us at email@example.com.
We believe that moving too slowly in digital is the biggest risk your business faces. If you are ready to move faster in digital, we are here to help.