The ASPIRE! Group Blog

The ASPIRE! Group Blog

Go-to-Market Innovation at the Intersection of Business and Technology

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The Path To Benefit Realisation

March 29, 2011

I love working with our clients.

One of my major motiving drivers is working with people to make a difference.  That difference might be small or big, but when a client tells us that we’ve had an impact I couldn’t be happier.

The path to benefit realisation is not a straight road.

In fact it may have many cross roads and forks.

What is apparent though is those companies who do realise the full benefit of their technology investments take a radically different approach than those that don’t.

I have discussed technology adoption, proces innovation and other such topics in other blog posts (for example here and here).  The key theme in today’s post is absolutely in line with those and the commentary contained, but today’s post explores the mindset of those companies that stand out.

Firstly, has any technology sales organisation ever created an ROI calculation for the technology (to a customer) that shows the customer should not buy and would be a bad investment ?  I can’t recall ever seeing one.

It’s not that the technology isn’t great it’s just that the ROI calculation is full of assumptions and looking at only part of the picture.

In addition have companies invested without a business case…of course they have.  So is a detailed documented business case or ROI really necessary ?

Why is it that some customers “get it” and buy on emotion and others need to go through a detailed and lengthy exercise in the buying decisions?  Many a book written on this subject and not one I will delve into here today.

But regardless of how the investment is decided (on gut feel emotion versus detailed business case) those that realise the full benefit all have one thing in common.

A relentless focus on change.

The investment is not approached as a new technology or new set of tools.  IT is not lumbered with the job of buying and implementing.  “The Business” is not thrown a knew set of tools and told to “get to it”.

There is a holistic view (formal or informal) that ensures every part of the organisation understands their role in maximising the return on the investment.  Each group plays a part and only when all parts work together will that be achieved.

While in previous blogs we talked about formal change methods, some of the greatest success stories were achieved with no formal plans.  The organisations culture led them to leverage the investments.

So what is the path to benefit realisation?  How does an organisation get the maximum value from technology investments.

– Organisation wide involvement

– Business project – NOT an IT project

– Focus on change – changing the way people work, not how they work, but the way they work

– Clear linkage of usage of the new tools to corporate goals (direct and measurable)

– and the most important…seeing it through, not switching gears when value isn’t realised or falls short, but looking into why and proactively addressing it


I hear so many complaints from “users” about all kinds of technology.

  • It doesn’t work
  • too hard to use
  • can’t access it
  • it’s not available to me
  • slows me down
  • and many many more

These all point to one problem, for the most part technology is implemented and people are given training on the mechanis of the technology.  Rarely are people trained on new ways of working and given the latitude to explore the full deoths of the technology.  Many don’t care about technology they are so busy they just want to be left with their routine to get things done, new technology means learning new things and new ways which generally slows things down at first…adding workload they don’t have time for.


The companies that succeed are those that empower people to change the way they work but link it back to the clearly define business outcomes and objectives.  Formal or not, it’s all about change, and change is hard.  It’s why when it does happen clients are delighted.


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