The exploration of a process perspective on business cases and its relationship with the perceived succes of IT enabled investments

Date: 9 December 2014

Venue: University of Antwerp, Chapel Grauwzusters - Lange Sint-Annastraat 7 - 2000 Antwerp

PhD candidate: Kim Maes

Principal investigator: Prof. dr. Wim Van Grembergen

Co-principal investigator: Prof. dr. Steven De Haes

Short description: PhD defense Kim Maes - Faculty of Applied Economics

Abstract: The question on how to ensure value creation from IT enabled investments still poses a common and critical dilemma to contemporary organisations. Among other methods, the development of a business case has been recognised as a mechanism to help resolve this dilemma. Several scholars suggest that part of this dilemma could only be realised if business cases are used continuously throughout the entire investment life cycle. This approach requires a rational transformation in the perspective on business cases in which they need to become a living document that is frequently updated and matures along the investment. The present study explores a process perspective on business cases with the aim to enable this transformation.
A process perspective on business cases is characterised by the eminent knowing-doing gap. Organisations understand and acknowledge that a business case can play a useful role before, during and after the investment implementation, but only few act accordingly as they lack appropriate skills and in-depth knowledge to do so. The state of academic knowledge on a continuous business case approach and more specifically on a business case process is besides still in its childhood stage. This carries a significant opportunity for business case research: the exploration of a process perspective on business cases in the context of IT enabled investments and its relationship with perceived investment success.
The study contributes by identifying a set of validated practices and developing a conceptual model to enable a process perspective on business cases. The model provides a structure to adequately use a business case throughout the investment life cycle and delivers general vocabulary on practices with regard to business case development and use. Finally, an initial exploration of a positive relationship between a business case process and the perceived investment success has been observed, offering a preliminary argument to organisations in order to start building knowledge and experience on the business case process and its practices.