Benefits Realization from Information Technology

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Ramifications for Health Care

In many cases projects require multidisciplinary teamwork. Benefits- led approaches must support these teams, enabling them to work Copyright material from www. In many cases there will be a drive to innovate to create new sources of value rather than simply solving clear-cut problems to improve efficiency or effective- ness. Successful completion of a benefits-led investment in IT is only the start of benefits realization. There must be a focus on benefits exploi- tation through the life of an IT system.

This area has been neglected. Benefits realization requires a focus on portfolio management and organizational perspectives as well as the management of individual projects. There is a considerable gap between what we know about the value of benefits-led approaches and the extent of effective adoption of these approaches in organizations. I tackle this from the perspective of devel- oping an organizational capability for benefits realization. Developing the benefits realization capability is a strategic change programme, which involves changing attitudes and behaviour — not just the adoption of a new approach to projects.

The structure of the rest of the book Chapter 2: Foundations A brief introduction to previous work in the areas of benefits realiza- tion and IT capabilities establishes foundations for the rest of the book. Chapter 3: Benefits Realization Capability A framework of competences and practices for benefits realization. Chapter 6: The Challenges of Benefits Realization Insights from a wide-ranging exploratory study to understand how business and IT managers perceived the challenges they faced in building the benefits realization capability of the organization.

The chapter provides important context for exploring the action required to develop this benefits realization capability. The chapter provides a portfolio perspective on benefits realization com- petences and practices. Chapter 8: Building the Capability — Breaking Out of the Catch The chapter draws on several empirical projects to explore the barri- ers to the adoption of benefits-driven approaches, and how they can be overcome.

It makes the case that developing a benefits realization capability within an organization is itself a benefits-driven change programme. So organizations are stuck in a catch to succeed in developing the benefits realization capability, they already need the capability in place. The chapter sets out some ways forward. Chapter 9: Big Picture The chapter sets out our current view of the framework as it has evolved to date. It provides further insights into how organ- Copyright material from www. Chapter Making a Difference — First Steps in a Change Programme The chapter draws on an ongoing action research programme which is seeking to develop the benefits realization capability of a large organization a Russell Group University.

The chapter outlines the approach and the initial results to provide some starting points for other organizations. Chapter Reflections on Research Methods I will keep the discussion of research methods very brief in earlier chapters and use this opportunity to reflect on the research approach and how it has evolved.

The aim is to share lessons learned for others adopting a participative approach to case studies and action research. Chapter Looking Ahead — Implications and Opportunities In the final chapter, I will set out the implications of the work for policy and practice and will set out future research directions. Equipping the organization: developing the benefits realization capability Melville et al.

The model makes it clear that technology by itself is not the direct source of value, but that complementary organizational resources are required and that the value is realized through business processes. Markus also emphasizes the importance of organizational change, not just technology delivery, to realize benefits. This was highlighted as an important area for further research by Peppard and Ward p. That is, sustained competitive advantage does not come from any one project or solution, but it comes from the ability continually to deliver solutions that provide a stream of temporary sources of advantage.

Work from many different perspectives, for example by Doherty et al. In addition, the focus of many efforts to improve IT project-success rates has been on improving the project process with well-defined methodologies and even comprehensive software tools. The challenge is how to operationalize the broad concept of an IS competence and provide guidance for managers and project teams.

As an example, Peppard and Ward define 26 compe- tences, but these are not defined other than in a very brief descrip- tion. Work is taking place e. Caldeira et al. Practice is an increasingly widely used term, within the organiza- tional literature, and a range of descriptions and definitions have emerged. Wenger et al. Moreover, the con- cept of practice relates to the informal organization and how work is actually done by individuals and groups. Improvements in benefits realization will come from putting ideas into practice and approaches Copyright material from www.

The use of competence and practice perspectives for this research is based on strong foundations in wider management literature and was intended as a basis for exploring the practicalities of projects and programmes of business transformation. A benefits-driven approach to investments in IT Conceptually, a benefits-driven approach to investments in IT is straightforward.

It is built on the principles that IT has no inherent value and that the benefits come from using IT to enable people to do things differently Peppard et al. Therefore, the starting point of a project is to consider relevant stakeholders and what they are going to do differently because of the investment and how this is of benefit to them. From this starting point, a project then focuses on identifying and delivering the organizational changes required to achieve the poten- tial benefits; these changes are supported and enabled by IT.

Benefits Management builds on a core set of principles and provides a process and a set of management practices for planning and lead- ing a benefits-driven project. As benefits come from organizational Benefits Management provides a coherent framework and common language for business staff, man- agers and IT professionals to work together effectively to make change happen and to realize the benefits. New project meth- odologies, new software development tools, outsourcing and offshoring can only ever be a part of a solution. Improvements must address the competences of the organization as a whole.

From a benefits-led approach to a benefits realization capability Benefits-led approaches are effective in practice but are not widely adopted. We have reframed the challenges of gaining adoption of a benefits-led approach to investments in IT as the development of an organizational benefits realization capability. In the rest of this book, we explore how organizations can develop this capability. The big picture The primary issue we are tackling is enabling organizations to suc- ceed in realizing benefits from investments in IT. These benefits may be for customers, employees, other stakeholders of the organization, for the organization itself and its shareholders.

We are following the principles that: 1. IT has no inherent value. Value is realized when the focus is on delivering benefits for stakeholders rather than just on delivery of an IT solu- tion. The shift to a focus on benefits affects the business case and the overall life cycle of the investment. Benefits realization from IT investments can be conceptualized as an organizational capability that has the purpose of ensuring that 10 The capability consists of a number of distinct, yet complementary, competences.

Capabilities, competences and practices Resources, capabilities, competences and practices are all important Copyright material from www. Barney, ; Grant, b; Teece et al.

Introduction to benefits mapping

In this section, we illustrate how these theoretical constructs can be applied to the task of delivering specified benefits from IT investments. Over the past twenty-five years, there has been a significant interest in how organizations can assemble a unique portfolio of resources that will render them a competitive advantage. The resource-based view RBV of the firm Wernerfelt, ; Barney, suggests that organ- izations should invest in those assets and resources that they believe will best assist them in successfully gaining a sustainable competitive advantage. However, from a competitive perspective not all resources are equally valuable.

Whilst resources are clearly a critical element of the RBV, there is a growing recognition that resources, per se, do not create value. It can be argued that organizations will only attain a sustainable competitive advantage if they can assemble a set of competences that can be con- sistently applied Teece and Pisano, and that competitors find difficult to imitate Barney, ; Prahalad and Hamel, This analysis can be applied to the realization of benefits from IT investments.

All organizations should establish a benefits realization capability, whether IT is a source of competitive advantage or not. However, this capability cannot be developed within the boundaries of the IT function; research demonstrates the need for enterprise-wide In delivering value through IT, the key resource is not technology but knowledge and this knowledge will be distributed throughout the organization.

As Newell et al. A competence is thus an attribute of a team, function or even the entire organization. Each competence is underpinned by the skills, knowledge and experi- ences of employees, that is people resources, who are likely to be distributed enterprise-wide, and deployed in combination with spe- cific organizational processes and resources McGrath et al. Benefits realization from IT investments can be considered as an organizational capability that has the express purpose of ensuring that investments made in IT consistently generate value, through the enactment of a number of distinct, yet complementary, competences.

However, whilst it appears to make sense to conceptualize benefits realization as a capability underpinned by a number of distinct com- petences, such a model is still at a relatively high level of granularity. Consequently, the practitioner will almost One potentially rewarding way of adding granularity to a benefits Copyright material from www. Carlile contends that practices are strongly focused upon their objects and ends, which make practices far more concrete and observable than competences. Not only does the concept of a practice appear to be closely aligned with how people actually work, it is also particularly relevant for IS projects, where much of the effort is based upon the knowledge and experiences of individuals and teams Newell et al.

Moreover, the concept of practice relates to the informal organization and how individuals and teams discharge their responsibilities. In contrast, management literature tends to emphasize processes and procedures, defined by the formal organization, which focus upon prescriptions of how the work should be done, and in so doing, often ignore many critical factors that affect performance Brown and Duguid, Based primarily on Wenger et al. Brown and Duguid, ; Schultze and Boland, ; Grant, b; and Carlile, I established the following working definition of practice, for the pur- pose of this study: a set of socially defined ways of doing things, in a specific domain, to achieve a defined — and generally measurable — outcome, and create the basis for responding appropriately to individual circumstances.

Ramifications for Health Care

From this definition, a number of phrases require further clarifica- tion, as they have a significant impact upon the way in which it can be used to identify appropriate practices. As Schultze and Boland note, the term practice is used deliberately to capture Creates the basis for responding appropriately to individual circumstances: A practice is not a set of highly formalized rules that prescribe in detail the way an activity should be undertaken.

As Schultze and Boland p. Each benefits realization competence is underpinned by a closely related suite of benefits realization practices, which, in their totality help to define the competence. Box 3. The toolkit approach enables flexibility: applying the right tools at the right time and adapted as necessary to the specific situation. The tools also provide a common language, which enables improvisation as multidisciplinary teams work together. The jazz metaphor is a helpful way of thinking about teamwork between the skilled professionals involved in benefits-driven IT projects.

The toolkit approach can also be applied to many of the human-centred practices, brainstorming for example, which are such an important part of effective working. We use the framework provided by work on patterns see Chapter 10 as a way of capturing and sharing the rich knowledge involved in practice to build up a toolkit for benefits realization.

Appendix 2 contains the initial framework of practices Ashurst et al. There is also value in adopting a range of practices as part of a broader programme of action to develop the capability of the organization to realize benefits from the portfolio of investments in IT. Benefits planning: benefits do not simply emerge, as if by magic, from the introduction of a new technology; their realization needs to be carefully planned and managed.

Benefits planning includes a strategic perspective, enabling innovation and deciding which projects to undertake, as well as benefits-focused planning of indi- vidual projects. As such, this process should operate at two distinct levels.

Benefits Realization Management and the Organizational Context – Brisk PPM

Secondly, benefits planning should be conducted, in detail, for every individual project. Benefits delivery: benefits primarily arise from the organizational change that accompanies an IT implementation, rather than directly from the technology itself. The benefits and related changes need to be the focus of activity. Consequently, benefits delivery typically relates to project initiation, after approval of the business case or benefits realization plan, through to completion of the project.

Benefits delivery focuses upon the organizational changes necessary to achieve benefits, rather than the delivery of the technical solution. The organizational environ- ment in which the project takes place is likely to have a significant Benefits review: organizations must monitor and evaluate results on an ongoing basis. Benefits review is an ongoing activity: plans are reviewed and adjusted, delivered benefits are reviewed and modified, and the ongoing exploitation requires ongoing review. Benefits exploitation: the quest to leverage benefits from business software should not cease as soon as it has been implemented.

Continued focus is required over the life of the investment. This is important; in many scenarios there is a need for a process of ongoing learning and incremental improve- ment to realize further benefits that is not the subject of any further IS project activity. Competences have both explicit and tacit elements and can be hard for managers to deal with.

One way of adding granularity to a benefits realization competence is through adoption of a toolkit of practices, each of which can be tailored to the needs and circum- stances of a specific organization. Given the relative immaturity of the IT benefits-realization litera- ture, it was necessary to conduct a broader review of the IS literature, to identify potentially relevant benefits realization practices. In par- ticular, contributions from the socio-technical e. Doherty and King, ; Clegg, , IT-enabled-change e.

Farbey et al. These literatures presented insights into the various approaches, techniques or behaviours that might help to facilitate benefits realization. Examples from the initial set of practices are included in Table 3. See Appendix 2 for the full set of practices. Neely et al. Assess the Bohn, interac- variability and uncertainty in the process Brooke, tions and consider the implications for benefits Ward and Daniel, realization. Bashein et al. Identify business change Benjamin and holder issues and actions required including com- Levinson, interac- munication and engagement with the Doolin, tions stakeholders, and the redesign of job speci- fications.

It provides a foundation for later stages of the work. Thanks to Neil Doherty and Joe Peppard: an extended and revised version of this chapter is found in Ashurst et al. The research The research was designed as an exploratory study to provide new insights into benefits realization from IT investments. A case-study approach was adopted to ensure that the benefits realization capability could be explored from different organizational perspectives.

More specifically, our aim was to review critically the conduct of information systems development projects, in a sample of case organizations, to explore the extent to which the approaches and methods they utilized mapped onto our framework of competences and practices.

In so doing, we anticipated extending our initial framework through the identification of new practices, as well as exploring the extent to which existing practices were deployed. Five cases were studied in two phases. A sample of 25 case projects from an IT consultancy knowledge base was used to gain a broader perspective on the adoption of 20 These projects were the focus of a first phase of empirical work.

These cases provide the main basis for the discussion that follows. A sample of 20 consulting projects, undertaken by the author, that built on the sample from the knowledge base. They provided wider Copyright material from www. Findings related to each competence Findings related to each benefits realization competence are dis- cussed in this section.

There is a full list of the practices in Appendix 2. It was as if the project teams knew it was required but did not have the knowledge or motivation required to enact the practice effectively. Although the project aims were typically articulated in strategic terms, there was no explicit discussion of how these aims would be Copyright material from www. Having established the strategic drivers, most organizations had broken these down into a number of lower-level benefits BP3: iden- tify and define benefits. Moreover, there was absolutely no evidence of organizations explic- itly identifying owners for these benefits, to help facilitate their ulti- mate realization.

The difficulty of getting organizations to provide clear measures for benefits was highlighted by a project manager All we could get out of them was that other players in the market already had similar technologies, and they wanted to eliminate all paper from their sales cycle. However, there was very little evidence from our study that any of the case organizations explicitly addressed these issues in the planning phase of their projects.

In a small number of cases, there was recognition that the realization of benefits depended on the changing of business processes. However, there was no evidence of any attempts to establish explic- itly the relationship between the redesign of specific business proc- esses with the realization of benefits BP4: establish benefit-process interactions.

The linking of the delivery of business benefits to changes in stake- holder behaviour was perhaps a little more positive BP5: establish stakeholder—benefit interactions. However, in the vast majority of cases, these analyses focused on the manner in which stakeholders would interact with the system, rather than explicitly detailing how their roles and responsibilities should be modified to facilitate the realization of benefits.

Overall, from our data, the adoption of practices in support of ben- efits planning is very limited and sporadic. All too often practices are ignored, or where adopted, they typically have a focus on the deliv- ery of features and technical functionality, rather than the realiza- tion of benefits. Indeed, the main rationale for identifying ben- efits, in the planning stages of our case organizations, was to facilitate Project teams still strongly prioritize, and focus upon, planning for the delivery of an IT solution, rather than engaging in any system- atic attempt to understand the linkage between delivered function- ality, complementary organizational change and the ultimate realization of business benefits.

One possible explanation for this Copyright material from www. Benefits delivery The empirical data provided little evidence that any of the practices related to the benefits delivery competence were being routinely or uniformly applied. With the adoption of agile and adaptive development approaches comes the opportunity to make trade-off decisions between differ- ent development alternatives, based upon the strength of their rela- tionship to benefits realization BD5: make benefits-driven trade-offs.

One area where there was a little more evidence of practice adop- tion was with regard to the appointment of a business manager to Moreover, in many organizations it was clear that the project sponsors had failed in one of their pri- mary roles, namely facilitating communication. All the projects reviewed followed a tried and tested model that proved to be very effective in facilitating the timely delivery of IT solutions, with a small team of fairly technically oriented staff.

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Unfortunately, there was virtually no evidence to suggest that the project teams had actively engaged in the critical element of benefits realization, namely changes to the design of the host organization, or the working practices of project stakeholders BD6: implement business changes. Indeed, a review of all the project plans confirmed that no time or resources had been explicitly reserved to enact a pro- gramme of organizational change, either before or after systems implementation. This view was supported by the largely negative responses from project managers when questioned about the roles and processes they had in place to manage the delivery of value.

Having identified the planned benefits one organization P8 recognized the need to stimulate In particular, it was rather disappointing that little evidence could be found to suggest that case organizations were neither identifying a set of criteria upon which the success of their projects could be judged BR1: establish evaluation criteria nor formally reviewing the bene- fits realized from their IT investments BR2: benefits-driven project appraisal. In most cases, the project managers had a clear view as to whether, and which ways, the project delivered value, but they admitted that no concrete evidence had been collected to support these perceptions.

However, these tended to be very targeted assessments of one or two key ben- efits, rather than systematic and comprehensive reviews of all bene- fits. In only one case had a project team attempted to establish a clear link between the original project goals, and the extent to which each had been successfully achieved P8: post-implementation review. It was also interesting to note that whilst all 25 of the projects were considered to be technically successful, they were not always viewed as being successful in terms of benefits realized or value delivered.

In one notable case, a website for online sales was deliv- ered to a client on time, to budget and to specification. However, within a year the website had been withdrawn as it was failing to attract customers, and deliver any meaningful benefits. As the This finding is important as it underlines the point that the successful delivery of an effective IT solution does not guarantee that the resultant system will deliver meaningful busi- ness benefits.

Although limited evidence of benefits review practices could be Copyright material from www. If nothing else, this provides some evidence that organizations were reflecting upon the how the performance of the projects could be improved BR4: con- duct review of lessons learned. Benefits exploitation Because project teams tended to be disbanded soon after the go-live date, there was very little evidence to suggest that ongoing benefits exploitation was explicitly practiced in any of the case organizations. However, in two cases, managers were appointed to have responsibil- ity for the long-term management and performance of the opera- tional software BE1: ensure ongoing ownership of benefits.

Whilst in neither case were these individuals explicitly tasked with benefits exploitation, their focus upon the ongoing management of people and processes, as well as technology, put them in an ideal position, to do so.

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Analysis of these cases shows that there is a substantial gap between what we know Copyright material from www. Indeed, the vast majority of the projects investigated for this study focused on the design and delivery of an IT technical solution with only a very limited focus on the wider issues of work redesign, process re-engineering, organi- zational change management and benefits realization. Moreover, although we discovered many individual instances of specific practices being adopted, overall, these practices were not in widespread use, either within or across organizations.

Despite this rather sporadic adoption of benefits realization prac- tices, it was possible to discern a number of important patterns, across the case organizations.

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However, the rationale for adopting these practices owed more to getting the project authorized and funding approved than it did to acting as a starting point for the proactive management of benefits. The only other significant stage at which business benefits were explicitly considered was during the post-implementation review, during which a number of project teams made clear recommenda- tions that more specific benefits-related practices should be adopted in future projects.

Given that we found very little evidence to suggest that benefits- oriented practices are being adopted in any comprehensive or There are at least three plausible explanations to this question. First, as information systems development projects are enacted by a wide variety of human actors interacting in a multitude of ways with a complex technical artefact De Sanctis and Poole, ; Rose and Jones, , there is a high probability that their Copyright material from www.

There are always likely to be planned outcomes that are not realized Clegg et al. Consequently, it can be argued that organizations would be wasting their money in trying to proactively manage benefits. A second, or perhaps complementary, explanation might be found in the compo- sition of the sample. It can be argued that consultancy organizations would be very focused on discussing benefits with their clients at the outset of a project, but would then want to be left alone to get on with what they perceive to be the job: delivering a technical solution on time and to budget.

Under this scenario, the consultancy would see its job as delivering a solution that has the potential to deliver benefits, but responsibility for managing the conversion of potential into realized value Davern and Kauffman, would lie with the client organization, and how they adapt and appropriate their deliv- ered system. However, it is highly unlikely that benefits will ulti- mately be delivered if the client has not been actively involved in the identification and realization of benefits during the application development phase.

The third and perhaps most positive interpreta- tion of our findings is that organizational development teams have limited awareness of the importance of proactively managing bene- fits, or the availability of benefits-oriented approaches. Practices relate to how people actually work and may provide an effective way to share knowledge and enable organizations to establish the competences required to realize the potential benefits of IT.

Practices are socially constructed ways of working Newell et al. Unfortunately, the empirical element of the study suggests that very few of these benefits-oriented practices have been adopted in development projects, largely because IT pro- fessionals still tend to focus primarily on the delivery of a technical solution, on time, on budget and to specification. Despite the absence of any clear evidence that it is already being utilized, there are strong grounds to believe that organizations should be looking to establish a benefits realization capability, rather than continuing to pin their hopes solely on the use of traditional systems development methodologies.

Moreover, IT should not be viewed and managed as an island, but rather be seen as an integral part of organizational life. Consequently, the establishment of an enterprise-wide, benefits realization capability may have an impor- tant role to play in organizations wanting to rise to the challenge of generating value from their IT investments. Focus on the benefits, not the technology: For the IT manager, the key message must be that the delivery of a successful technical solution may be a necessary, but certainly not a sufficient, condition for the realization of a range of significant business benefits.

Consequently, the outcomes of future information systems projects must be defined in terms of specific benefits to be realized, rather than by the functionality of the technology that is to be delivered. Effective benefits realization requires ongoing commitment: Having identified the benefits to be delivered, project managers will need to initiate a proactive and ongoing benefits realization Benefits realization is a shared responsibility: Because of its strong focus on corporate strategies and organizational change, ben- efits realization is not an undertaking that can be accomplished by Copyright material from www.

Indeed, the primary responsibility for benefits realization should probably reside with managers from the host department, team or business unit that will ultimately own the sys- tem. The management of consultancy projects: At a time when the proportion of IT projects being outsourced to consultancies is high and rising Sauer and Cuthbertson, , there is a need for the customer to be prepared to take on responsibility for the benefits realization activity, as the consultancy may not see this as being within their terms of reference.

For those managers who find the arguments for adopting a more explicit benefits realization approach compelling, our framework of competences and practices provides some very interesting insights into how such a programme might be organized and managed. In particular, the empirical study has demonstrated that different organizations have enacted a common practice in their own distinct ways. Moreover, it is unlikely that every identified prac- tice will be needed in all circumstances.

Consequently, we would suggest that the framework of practices should be viewed as a refer- ence guide and point of departure for organizations to develop their own benefits realization capability that is tailored to their own ways of working and specific organizational requirements. The research This chapter is a case study of a programme of IT-enabled business transformation at a City Council. The study was carried out as part of a larger programme of research. The case study was one of three in-depth studies carried out to follow-up the 45 initial case studies described in Chapter 4.

I have focused on two aspects of the case. First, factors that contrib- uted to the success of the individual business transformation projects. The case provides a valuable example of a benefits-driven approach to projects of business transformation enabled by IT and highlights a number of insights with implications for practice and theory.

Secondly, the case provides insights into factors contributing to the development of the wider transformation capability of the organization. The Council was applying the same approach to the development of the transfor- mation capability as it was to the individual projects. These insights into the practicalities of change and transformation have implications for practice and provide a valuable starting point for further research. Introduction to the case-study organization This section provides a brief background on the transformation pro- gramme at the Council and the specific projects explored in the research.

In , in response to pressure from the government to ensure that Copyright material from www. The process resulted in extended negotiations to explore outsourcing these Council activities. The negotiations with the potential outsourced service provider showed that savings were possible, but that the service provider would receive most of the benefits.

As a result, an internal proposal was developed to match the savings and to allow the Council to take more of the benefits. The programme related specifically to the areas of the organization that had been the subject of the out- sourcing negotiations, that is the Information Technology depart- ment and various Council service departments IT, Customer Services, Exchequer, Revenue and Benefits.

The Transformation Programme and the related departments became the responsibility of a single director. As part of the forma- tion of the new division, a centralized IT function was formed, bring- ing together the IT departments that had previously been within each directorate of the Council. The Transformation Programme plan and the Transformation Programme office is about monitoring the benefits realized and making sure benefits are realized at the appropriate time IT is recognized as a key business enabler. Table 5. The sponsor of the study, and one of the interviewees, was the Director of the newly formed Council division.

Interviewees also included members of the central Transformation Programme Team who managed and supported the overall pro- gramme. A number of interviews were carried out for each project The project involved significant change within the payroll department itself. Some of these changes were directly related to the new system, while others, such as the move from weekly to monthly payroll were business changes taking place at the same time. The CRM project reduced the need for staff training from 6 months to 3 months ; in particular, time was saved by reducing the need to learn how to use many very different and complex systems.

As a result, the service could be provided in local centres. First point of contact resolution of queries rose from 70 to 83 per cent, customer satisfaction improved, with 95 per cent of customers finding the service easy to use and customer numbers increasing from , in to , in source: Council website — accessed on 21 July Lessons learned: developing competences for successful business transformation The research has provided valuable insights into how organizations can succeed with business transformation.

The case study of the This organiza- tion was using a wide range of practices for business transformation. In this section, I have highlighted some Copyright material from www. Benefits planning Benefits planning is a crucial stage of a project. I have outlined two of the key findings from the research.

Customer-focused benefits as the goal of the project. Peppard et al. The transformation programme at the Council was a three-year change program, consisting of 27 separate projects, each with clearly defined business benefits as the goal. A key part of the approach they took to benefits planning was to seek to identify what was required to make the changes happen and realize the benefits. The new approach they took to planning each business transformation project filled this gap so that there was a clear understanding of the benefits required, the business changes to realize the benefits and the role of IT as an enabler of change.

The Council illustrates the importance of establishing customer- focused benefits as the goal of a programme or project, and that these benefits need to be the driver for the investment, they need to be clearly defined, well aligned to the stakeholders and the changes required to realize them. The interviewees at the Council consistently emphasized a number of key themes including IT as an This consistency was striking.

Benefits Realization from the IT Portfolio

The emphasis seemed to be based on a core set of prin- ciples, or common values, guiding the approach they were taking. Factors contributing to this include the fact that a core leadership team had worked together over a period of several years; that new Copyright material from www. A key focus at this organization has been to establish a common language and shared benefits mindset that effectively represent the principles for Benefits Management put forward by Peppard et al.

An important finding that emerged from the research is that a range of practices, for example risk management or phased delivery, can be applied to IT solution delivery or to a business transformation project. The shift from solution to benefits is subtle, for example, affecting those involved and the emphasis taken. Although subtle, this paradigm shift appears to be extremely important. For many practices, the shift from solution delivery to business transformation is more about the new paradigm, or mindset, than a substantial change in the actual practice.

This is an important finding of the research. It has important impli- cations for the adoption of benefits-related approaches and the devel- opment of competences for business transformation. All too often, the emphasis of improvement efforts is on the adoption, or perhaps imposition of new techniques, rather than a change of mindset.

Benefits delivery Benefits delivery is a particularly challenging area. This analysis suggests the existence of three distinct approaches to benefits realisation and defines these according to their central features. The findings of this study document a critical investigation of methods for benefits realisation, providing an enhanced base framework of three approaches for future research to build on. This study provides fresh perspectives on benefits realisation by suggesting that existing methods differ to an extent that the authors argue they belong to different approaches that are likely to cause quite different results in practical use.

This has important implications for both research and practice, as research should analyse benefits realisation efforts according to approach, and practice needs to carefully consider their choice of method based on their actual needs. Further, the paper employs an established analytical framework for a novel definition of approaches to the field of benefits realisation in the public sector.

Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Please share your general feedback. The temporary nature of projects stands in contrast to operations, which are repetitive and on-going work. Projects are undertaken in addition to operations to assist the department in implementing the strategic priorities. The objective of the Information Technology IT Project Management audit was to provide assurance on the adequacy and effectiveness of the IT Project Management processes in place including benefit realization and outcomes.

The scope of the internal audit included an assessment of the overall IT project management governance processes and framework implemented by AAFC against Treasury Board requirements and leading practices. A sample of IT projects that were recently completed or currently in progress were selected for further examination to determine the extent to which the projects adhered to these requirements and leading practices. The Framework that has been implemented for IT projects is comprehensive in nature and includes a consideration of all major aspects of project management.

The audit noted that projects are completing the deliverables as outlined in the Framework. Furthermore, there is a well-defined governance structure that reviews and approves project deliverables at each project management gate as defined by the Framework. In addition to the positive practices noted above, the audit found that there are opportunities for improvements in the current IT project management framework.

Benefits Realization from Information Technology Benefits Realization from Information Technology
Benefits Realization from Information Technology Benefits Realization from Information Technology
Benefits Realization from Information Technology Benefits Realization from Information Technology
Benefits Realization from Information Technology Benefits Realization from Information Technology
Benefits Realization from Information Technology Benefits Realization from Information Technology
Benefits Realization from Information Technology Benefits Realization from Information Technology

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