Original Research

The business case: The missing link between information technology benefits and organisational strategies

Carl Marnewick
Acta Commercii | Vol 14, No 1 | a208 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v14i1.208 | © 2014 Carl Marnewick | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 June 2013 | Published: 07 July 2014

About the author(s)

Carl Marnewick, Department of Applied Information Systems, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


Purpose: Business cases are an integral part of information technology (IT) projects, providingthe linkage between the organisational strategies and the promised benefits. Most majorproject management standards and methodologies make reference to the business case andits intended usage.

Problem investigated: The success of IT projects is measured based on the benefits they deliver; anecdotal evidence states that IT projects fail at an alarming rate. The benefits are promised in the business case and should be delivered. This study focuses on whether there is a gap between theory and practice with regard to the way that organisations use the business case to approve, manage and track the promised benefits throughout an IT project.

Methodology: This article reports on exploratory research that was initiated to establish the current practice of business case application. Four research questions were developed based on an extensive literature review to support or debunk the anecdotal evidence. Semi-structured interviews were used to gather evidence from organisations based on these research questions.

Findings: The results suggest that organisations make use of business cases for various reasons and mostly in line with theory. There are, however, aspects that need to be addressed, such as the linkage between the business case and the harvesting of promised benefits.

Value of research: This article confirms the theoretical aspects of the business case but highlights some deviations from practice. Organisations need to be more vigilant in the management of the business case to ensure the tracking and realisation of promised benefits.



Benefits management; business case; information technology; interviews; strategic alignment


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Crossref Citations

1. Benefits of information system projects: The tale of two countries
Carl Marnewick
International Journal of Project Management  vol: 34  issue: 4  first page: 748  year: 2016  
doi: 10.1016/j.ijproman.2015.03.016