Benefits Realization Assessment

Results that make a difference

 

Gathering data for benefits realization can be allusive.  Your company’s accounting systems and processes may not generate the specific data you are looking for. If the business case is completed correctly, metrics should have been developed and sources of data identified at that point.   If the project proceeds without this assurance, then there is greater risk of not identifying the actual value of the project.  The IT PMO completes the assessment.


Step 1: Determine the timeframe to complete the assessment

  • Do not do the assessment too early before benefits are fully realized.  This can be over a year from project deployment
  • Do not do the assessment too late if benefits are not being achieved.  Management needs to be notified in a timely manner to make a decision regarding the lower than expected value achieved from the technology deployment.  It could be scaled back or revisited to assess why benefit achievements have not been realized.  But ideally, with the focus on maximizing the value of IT investments, there should be action plans to address the issue

Step 2: Review the business case, Benefits Accountability section to determine the benefits to be tracked

  • Each benefit should have a metric and accountable party assigned to it
  • If done right, the metrics identified should have been assessed in terms of sources and availability of data to calculate the metric at the time of the completion of the business case.  This is critical to the successful completion of the benefits realization assessment
  • Revalidate the sources of data and metric calculation

Step 3: Complete an assessment report

  • Work with the accountable managers to gain an understanding what actions took place to derive the benefits.  For example, if headcount reductions were required to achieve cost savings, then the accountable manager would be able to explain the actions that took place to make that happen
  • If benefits have fallen short of expectations, investigate why.  It is important for management to understand whether the shortfall was due to timing or other factors that may be out of control of the accountable manager.  If the benefits have not been achieved, the accountable party should indicate the timing when the benefits will be achieved
  • It also is important to assess where benefits were higher than expectations.  This is good marketing for demonstrating the value of technology, which is a key objective
  • Go to this link for a benefits realization assessment template.


Step 4: Review assessment report with business owner/sponsor and accountable parties

  • It is important to review the findings with key stakeholders before a distribution to management
  • As in the initial step to define the benefits, there could be a negotiation with the key stakeholders if the data does not clearly show the benefit achievement.  As an example, if it is not clear that a revenue increase was attributed to a project, assess cause and effects to determine whether a correlation is warranted
  • Make appropriate changes and finalize the assessment report

Step 5: Communicate assessment report with all key stakeholders, including the project team and senior management

  • Review with the Technology Steering Committee
  • Once all aspects of the project (activities and benefits) have become part of business as usual, formal tracking is complete