Benefits Realisation Management
Identify, Plan, Measure & Report on the Impact of Change, Digital Transformations and New Businesses/Services
Benefits realisation management (BRM) is becoming increasingly important as investors, funders and services expect to see analytical information and data from their return on investments.
Typically, benefits are identified in business cases and often that is where they stay. We are starting to see more proactive BRM activity that is working beyond the business case identification and into implementation and business as usual benefits realisation monitoring and reporting.
According to the New Zealand Treasury, BRM is especially important due to the poor track record of change initiatives demonstrating that the benefits they were established to deliver have been realised.
International studies have shown that organisations with high benefits management maturity have greater success with their projects and programmes.
What Exactly is Benefits Realisation Management?
The New Zealand Treasury consider that in the context of an investment proposal, a benefit may be defined as: “A measurable gain from an investment which is perceived to be advantageous by a stakeholder”. A successful investment in change by an organisation can result in both winners and losers, can be affected by external factors, and can result in gains that may not be measurable. Measures are required to demonstrate that a benefit has been delivered.
It is the measures that become the work of the Benefits Lead and key stakeholders to identify the baseline, data and targets that will be applied to each benefit. Then the work begins. It is also about highlighting dis-benefits which can often occur with new implementations as a temporary dis-benefit whilst the change occurs.
The Benefits of Measuring Change...
Previously underrated, BRM benefits are now an expected accountability process. Measuring and reporting on benefits realisation provides more than anecdotal feedback to stakeholders.
A successful approach to a BRM Strategy is often based on the following tenets, that;
Benefits are a net positive outcomes from change.
Benefits are not automatic, they’re planned. Benefits realisation is beyond the control of the change you are implementing, and often not realised until you are back to business as usual.
Active monitoring by Benefits Owners is required, to maintain monitoring the measures and targets of benefits to track the effectiveness of change and the achievement of outcomes.
Change management must be integrated. Successful benefits cannot be expected without supporting the business change, and the people it impacts. So there must be a strong linkage between change management and benefits realisation.
Benefits can be short and long term. Benefits will flow over a period of time as people learn to use the new technology and systems and integrate it into business processes. And so benefits realisation should be both a short-term process and a long-term process that extends beyond the life of projects.
Benefits rarely occur as planned. Being flexible will support the process. Initial objectives may be superseded as you uncover additional benefits. Benefits Owners will need to establish a continuous process to actively monitor and manage the realisation of benefits over the life of a programme.
Benefits realisation management requires governance. The benefits realisation processes need to inform the programme business case and programme plan, and these need to be synchronised. Benefits processes must be linked with programme governance, but ultimately, realisation will reside with the benefits owners.
The over-arching purpose of a BRM plan is to ensure that those involved in the programme and project benefits commit to the following principles of:
A common understanding of the expected benefits of the programme and projects;
Identifying the key implementation benefits and secondary/intermediate benefits, where accountability will rest and how benefit outcomes will be measured;
Recording which initiatives will be required to ensure the delivery of the benefit outcomes, who will be accountable for their implementation and their completion timeframe;
Capturing the detail of the overall programme benefits that can be referenced and broken into more detail in the individual project business cases;
Identifying key assumptions and risks around the delivery of the expected benefit outcomes, the strategies that will be implemented to mitigate them and who will be accountable to implement those strategies; and...
That the BRM Plan is regularly updated and includes high level information about the proposed types of benefits applicable for the key outcomes, which will include detailed metrics, including targets, baselines and timelines for the benefits to be measured.
Mandy is a trainer for ‘How to Excel as Benefits Owners’ workshops which provides information and processes to support benefits ownership and BRM. Having a Change Management Specialist with BRM experience as a dedicated resource facilitating the process (rather than adding to the already busy team) and supporting the team through training, developing a strategy, creating systems and processes, implementation and monitoring is an excellent way to embed BRM practice. Mandy can help getting your BRM underway and be then when needed to come back periodically to review and support.
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