Using Visual Tools to Develop a Compelling Case for Change

A recent engagement focussed on developing a compelling business case for the digital transformation of extant systems.


Apis’ significant track record of work spans numerous agencies and sectors including health, human services, social services, agriculture, education, defence, treasury, finance, environment, clean energy regulation, immigration, border protection and customs, international aid, and indigenous affairs.

A recent engagement focussed on developing a compelling business case for the digital transformation of extant systems. Apis was engaged to:

The project was completed over an 18-week period and included Discovery, Concept and Validation phases.

Visual Tools

Key to this engagement was the use of visual aids to walk the client (and ultimately the audience of the business case) through the case for change. The artefacts allowed the engagement of a wide range of stakeholders, from frontline data processors to senior executives and technical managers (including CIO and CTO). Key visual tools employed included Operating Concept, User Scenarios and Dynamic Cost Models.

Operating Concept

One of the key artefacts used by the team to convey a future vision was the Operating Concept. This artefact resonated with the client as it demonstrated an understanding of the business and included a summary of all functions required to support the work of the division. Once agreed, it was used as a basis for the documentation developed throughout the project. The Operating Concept was used to quickly establish a shared vision and scope for the future state, and was more engaging and efficient than a lengthy document. Revisions were quickly iterated in an agile fashion though feedback loops, enabling the engagement of a wide variety of stakeholders within a short period. This single page artefact served to:

User Scenarios

High level user scenarios were developed to demonstrate how ICT systems could improve current business processes and deliver desired outcomes in line with user needs. They were user-centric and designed to be non-technical and accessible to all stakeholders. The scenarios served to:

Dynamic Cost Models

Dynamic cost models were developed to visualise the financial outlay and potential benefits for the defined options. Sources for information included transaction metrics, market scan information and user scenarios. All fields were variable to enable interactive scenario testing with the client. The cost models included a visual representation of:


Development and confirmation of these visual artefacts enabled the team to communicate widely and set a baseline early in the discovery phase to establish a solid grounding for the project. Leveraging Apis’ experience in comparable transformations across government, the Operating Concept remained relatively constant throughout the project. This is a good example of top-down high level design being validated by bottom-up rigour to provide a compelling case for change. The accessibility and engagement with the visual tools allowed a wide range of stakeholders to buy-in to the concepts presented in the final business case. By engaging widely and establishing a baseline early utilising visual tools, the team was able to progress through the project phases with minimal pushback and deliver a thoroughly developed business case with acceptance from a wide range of stakeholders.

About Mark Harris

Mark is a Senior Consultant with Apis Group, with a background in Electronics Engineering and IT. Prior to joining Apis, Mark worked for four years as an analyst in the London banking sector. Since joining Apis, Mark has worked on a number of high profile projects including Biosecurity Reform and the national digital health record (My Health Record). Mark is an experienced team lead, with the proven ability to deliver successful outcomes for clients.