Benefits realization is rapidly becoming the critical business process for CIOs and IT as organizations call the value of IT into question. Traditionally, benefits realization has been assumed to be the responsibility of the business. IT built systems and the business deployed these systems to create business value. That approach makes sense given the division of responsibilities between IT and line operations.
The realization is current benefits realization techniques just do not work.
The idea that one party creates change and hands it over to another to harvest has lost its effectiveness. That approach worked when IT was young and its value potential could be measured in terms of the difference between paper-based and automated processes. This created a tremendous and deep reservoir of business value that has taken almost 40 years to tap.
The problem is past sources of IT value are not the future sources of IT’s value.
It is a simple matter of market penetration. As IT solutions permeate business operations, the incremental value of additional technology declines. This is happening as the automation, integration, internet-ization of information and technology is playing itself out. The incremental and accretive value associated with adopting new technologies is changing from being broad and deep to being focused and requiring greater focus.
The opportunity to re-imagine IT’s role in benefits realization a real opportunity give IT the ability to create value.
While the value of traditional transaction processing technology faces as the challenge of declining value, other technologies such as mobile, social media, context computing, analytics and other lightweight technologies are opening new veins of future value. Value that comes from changing behavior rather than applying traditional compliance based benefit approaches.
The nature of change is changinggas organizations and individuals grow tired of facing a future of burning platforms and change initiatives that tell them the best way to work.
Going forward CIOs and IT leaders need to re-imagine benefits realization by extending their approach to benefits realization to include:
- Recognizing and connect benefits with your organization’s commitment framework.
- Translating business case metrics into management and operational metrics used to manage the way the organization works and assess management performance.
- Transforming HR into an active tool for giving people the skills and abilities to work in new ways.
Each of these suggestions will be discussed in greater detail in subsequent posts, but notice what they all have in common. Each focused on creating outcomes that change the way the business works rather than the way IT builds or deploys systems. We already know how to create a supply of technology — now we need to connect that supply with mechanisms that raise business performance.