Thought Leadership From Industry Peers
Beyond the Technical Solution: Delivering Benefits and Creating Value in a Digital World
Doug Stein | Consulting & IT Leadership Roles | Express Scripts | Avanade | Mindtree
Most business leaders would agree that getting the most from IT investments is and will continue to be of paramount importance, but in today’s rapidly changing landscape what does that really mean? Moving beyond the traditional concept of simply seeking ROI from technology solution assets, business leaders should consider the value created by the business processes as a whole combined with the enabling technologies that support them.
Shifting the paradigm from solution to value as a primary focus is needed in order to do this. Gartner’s recent article: Flipping to Digital Leadership: Insights from the 2015 Gartner CIO Agenda Report supports this concept and sheds light on the growing CIO mindset that there is a critical need for a value/benefits based approach.
To do this requires a delivery framework focused on planning for value, leveraging technology to enable the processes and outcomes that deliver the desired results and continuous business value creation/alignment. Mature Program Management is essential in order to execute under this framework, realize maximum benefits and ensure value is created throughout the life cycle.
The Project Management Institute® (PMI) has defined a Benefits Realization model (Standard for Program Management Version 3.0) that provides a structure to plan the delivery of benefits at the outset while remaining flexible enough to allow for progressive elaboration through the course of the delivery life cycle. Building on this foundation, an ideal partner will offer value focused Program Management throughout the engagement life cycle – from early planning through to the realization of value creation.
Ultimately, the right partner will add value as a service. A partner that bridges the cultural gap through communication, team management, and value focused methodologies removes a significant outsourcing risk for clients. The selection of a partner that offers value, rather than just a solution, guarantees a return on investment above and beyond that which can be described in a traditional business case.
Business Value based Delivery Management (BVDM)
BVDM is a framework that encapsulates solution delivery within continuous business value planning under the auspices of Program Management. As with any framework, the approach must be scalable to account for engagements of various types and sizes. Key component / process groups under this framework should include:
A successful outcome requires a high performance team. Key to team success is an experienced leader who is passionate about delivery and accountable for vision execution. Identified at the outset, a Program Delivery Executive should be such a leader who:
- Establishes rules of the road, in conjunction with the client. (Methodology established – communicated – understood)
- Drives Value Creation through business value planning, method based execution and Solution Delivery Management
- Is responsible for stakeholder management, benefits (value) realization, delivery approach and communication & coordination across the engagement
- Ensures continuous alignment for value creation from the very beginning
Business Value Definition
The road to creating value begins with defining it. Initially, goals are defined and encapsulated in a set of measurable business value objects. These may change over time so the focus should be on the underlying value sought rather than any presupposed value to the implementation of a solution. At a minimum Business Value Definition involves:
- Establishing Strategic Goals
- Defining Desired Value Adding Benefits
- Determining Key Value Measures that are dynamic enough to change over time
Business Value Planning
- This initially involves the development of value aligned Vision & Scope as well as high level solution requirements. Over the course of the life cycle value planning continues to reflect changing realities. Key activities include:
- Refining and Elaborating Goals and desired Benefits
- Collaborative development of business process and interactions intended to achieve the desired results
- Mapping technology and technical solutions to future state processes (Technical Architect engages to add value)
Solution Delivery Management (SDM)
While focusing on value creation, the controlled delivery of enabling technology solutions also remains critical. Business Value Delivery Management extends into Solution Delivery to ensure a continuously aligned focus on value targets. The overarching Program Management framework is intended to drive method based execution into practice. The Program Delivery Executive maintains ultimate accountability to the client while leaders in the disciplines of Project Management and Solution Architecture are accountable to the team. Many of the disciplines within SDM are familiar however they should be executed with continuous value alignment in mind. These include:
- Project Management (Technical/Solution)
- Solution Architecture (Technical)
- Project Delivery Management Methodology
- Software Delivery Life cycle (SDLC)
Ultimate Goal: Value Creation
The result of every iteration as well as the engagement as a whole must be: Value Creation Realized.