Benefits realization is a simple concept, but often becomes a complicated workflow in the context of business transformation efforts.

The definition is straightforward: A process focused on documenting the connection between projects and initiatives and the value they provide. A commitment to benefits realization means a better understanding of both project success and how to adjust business strategy when these efforts don’t provide documentable results. Effective combination of business strategy and benefits, along with ensuring the long-term relevance of benefits after a project or initiative is complete, is commonly referred to as benefits realization management (BRM).

Benefits realization can be prone to error when companies don’t have a reliable platform in place for monitoring progress. As a result, project benefits, or any expected benefit, are lost in the bigger picture because there’s no mechanism for benchmarking, recording and analyzing successful outcomes. Tracking the performance of the constituent elements of a larger business transformation project requires connecting project outputs to a BRM solution. With the right benefits realization management technology, businesses can confidently document and analyze their transformation efforts and use those insights to make effective adjustments when necessary.

A concept image of a graph.A deep understanding of strategic goals, intended project benefits and the business case that supports them produces better strategic alignment across the organization.

Why is benefits realization important?

Benefits realization is a core component of a successful business transformation project. The insight offered by successful BRM is critical for managing resources and determining specific factors that make projects within your organization productive. And, because BRM helps to align strategy and goals, businesses can have more confidence in the relevance and longevity of the benefits their transformation efforts will lead to. Without it, companies will have difficulty projecting and identifying benefits across a transformation program. With many relevant connections to strategy execution, BRM is crucial for large-scale program success.

How can benefits realization help organizations?

Benefits realization helps businesses ensure that the resources invested into business transformation projects will provide value in return. A solid approach to BRM reduces the risk of investing in projects and initiatives projects and initiatives that don’t offer positive returns because a benefits realization framework exists for identifying exactly this type of problem.

Companies can more confidently work toward their strategic objectives with an effective assessment framework and the tools to consistently apply it in place.

Why do projects fail to deliver benefits?

Projects can fail to deliver business benefits for many reasons. They may be started with only a goal in mind and lack a strategy that helps each stakeholder work toward that end.  Their goals may be unclear or, in some cases, simply not strongly aligned with the strategic objectives of the larger transformation program. Projects may also lack necessary resources – or be allocated too many team members or too much funding. Organizational rules and policies that are usually useful and beneficial may hamper crucial progress or limit necessary actions.

In these cases, and many others, a commitment to BRM can help make the connections between projects and benefits clearer. The insight provided by this process allows key stakeholders and organizational leaders to make adjustments as needed and realize stronger, more relevant projects that lead to more stable and sustainable results. Cost optimization projects, for example, require both an effective strategy and keen oversight for a better chance of realizing their goals.

What does a benefits realization process look like?

Among other needs, effective benefits realization requires:

  • Consistent planning, forecasting and analysis.
  • The selection of dependable leaders and staff.
  • Building strong connections between the broader initiative, the specific project and the desired benefits.

The Project Management Institute broke down successful BRM into three detailed, multi-step frameworks. These workflows cover the benefit identification process that must occur at the start of a program, the execution of program plans, and sustaining benefits that have been realized as a result of a project.

Business transformation as a whole is a complicated and involved process. Success is entirely possible with the right tools, structures and processes in place. However, failure is all too likely if these elements aren’t aligned or are lacking to begin with. A majority of business transformation efforts aren’t successful,

How do you measure project success?

In a basic sense, measuring project and, ultimately, program success is relatively simple. Has the effort reached its established goals, and done so in a way that didn’t involve major delays, missteps or excessive resource consumption?

However, more specific measurements are the foundation of strong business transformation programs. Companies need to have the right solutions in place to measure individual project success as well as contextualize these accomplishments as part of the larger program goal. Sustainability also comes into play. The longer that the benefits of a project are felt, the more successful the effort. Having effective solutions in place for documenting progress and performance is a critical part of measuring success.

How do you increase the likelihood for benefits realization?

Increasing the odds for success in benefits realization is a good decision for all businesses. That’s especially true in the context of business transformation efforts, where positive results help companies maintain relevance and negative ones can harm long-term stability.

Shibumi offers a purpose-built solution designed to provide the insight and analysis needed to spur the success of BRM. Our platform focuses on oversight of wide-ranging, transformational programs. It stretches from an executive view of major achievements and current goals to detailed information about the status of individual projects and initiatives. By interfacing with existing project management software and similar tools, your company can gain crystal-clear visibility into its efforts and more confidently work toward realizing the benefits of such large and important programs.

Finding an experienced, committed and dependable partner to support your business transformation efforts is a vital step toward success. Shibumi understands the complexities of modern transformation programs and offers specialized solutions that empower your key stakeholders, from the boardroom to project managers and key team members. To learn more, request a free demo today.