It is just about that time of year again, when we will go about creating business cases. These are our proposals for investments the business can make to improve operations, achieve growth in an existing market or grow in another market. Often business cases are about the hard statistics of Return on Investment (ROI) or Internal Rate of Return (IRR). However it is key to have a good understanding of the business benefits to be achieved and the business problems trying to be resolved. For this shared understanding, I like to use a Future Benefits Realization Map.
Organizations do not put systems in just for the sake of implementing systems. Truthfully there is a business goal or a pain point which is trying to be alleviated. A Future Benefits Realization Map crystallizes what needs to be done and the desired results.
In working with the business case owner, I set up a couple of working discussions to go over achieving the business benefits. The first meeting is to set the stage that this is just not about evaluating and implementing a system, it is about achieving a new way of work for their department.
Identify the Current Pain Points - First it is a good idea to list the problems you are looking for the solution to solve.
Depict the Current Obstacles- Next clearly identify barriers and obstacles to resolving those problems
Illustrate the Opportunities for Improvement - Often a business case will be the culmination of several improvement initiatives, listing out the different ways to help resolve the problem clarifies it for everyone.
Define the Desired Results - Clearly stating the desired end result will help to keep focus on the outcome. It is also a good practice to discuss how this will be measured and what control processes c an be implemented to assure achievement of the outcome.
If you are having problems clarifying the business reasons for a system implementation, the future benefits realization map will help.