The vast majority of IT projects seldom deliver the anticipated returns specified in the business case. Look at the same of the quotes from the sources below.
- “78% of Information Systems projects failed to realize even 50% of the originally identified benefits.” Source: Management Today
- “Only 40% of CFOs find that their IT investments are producing the returns they expected.” Source: Gartner, How to Optimize IT Investment Decisions
- “30-40% of systems to support business change deliver no benefit whatsoever.” Source: OGC, Successful Delivery Toolkit
The reasons why benefits are seldom achieved are many. Below is a list of some of the common reasons.
- The business problem was poorly defined giving rise to a flawed business case.
- The business case was poorly developed and established an incorrect or unrealistic expectation.
- Requirements for the solution were inaccurate, incomplete or were poorly defined.
- Delivery of the solution was poorly executed.
- The technical solution was fundamentally flawed.
- The delivered solution was not effectively adopted by the business.
- The business changed significantly between inception and project completion.
Let’s look at what can be done to achieve more benefits.
- Prepare a realistic and accurate business case. The business case should not just be used to secure funding, but should also be used a management tool to measure success.
- Section 1 – Problem Statement
- Section 2 – Vision
- Section 3 – Alternatives
- Section 4 – Recommended Strategy
- Section 5 – Benefits
- Section 6 – Assumptions
- Section 7 – Financial Analysis
- Section 8 – Risk and Mitigation Strategies
- Change the key measure for determining project success to whether the business benefits as proposed in the initial business case were achieved. The ultimate success of a project involves much more than successfully delivering the solution on time, on budget and with all planned scope.
- Implement a Benefits Realization Program. Benefits realization starts with defining a realistic business case. Benefits do not just happen – they have to be planned and managed to achieve. Benefits realization has its own lifecycle that is much longer than the typical project lifecycle. Benefits rarely happen according to plan. When assumptions change that impact benefits, the changes should be documented and attached as a revision to the original business case.
- Benefits realization is a continuous process of envisioning results, implementing, checking intermediate results and dynamically adjusting the path leading from investments to business results. Benefits realization is a process that can and must be managed, just like any other business process.
- Use the right process and tool to ensure that value is achieved. Currently, there is only one tool on the market that helps manage value delivery from concept to achievement of business benefits – Enfocus Requirements Suite.™ Enfocus Requirements Suite and its integrated business analysis methodology, Requirements Excellence Framework™ provide full support for capturing the business case, eliciting needs from stakeholders, developing and prioritizing requirements to meet stakeholder needs and provide value, and managing the benefits through the solution lifecycle including development and operations. The diagram below shows a high level view of how benefits are achieved using the Enfocus Requirements Suite.™