Yesterday I wrote the first part of this post, you will find the link here.
The discussion was about whether the company should implement the ERP system next even though the most obvious benefits, more cost control and effective operations, connected to that project are not highest on the BRMs list of benefits, but increased customer satisfaction is.
Of course they should implement the ERP-system! As I wrote in a previous post, projects drive change. What changes are executed and how is partly up to the project. So while investing in this ERP project, with increased customer satisfaction highest up on the benefits realization management-list, the company needs to ask itself if there is anything that can be done to improve customer satisfaction simultaneously.
Operational effectiveness is actually one of the things that effect customer experience and can increase customer satisfaction according to Westerman G, Bonnet D, McAfee A. (2014) “Leading Digital – Turning technology into business transformation”. So in this example, the company can for example involve customer support in the education of the system so that they quickly can answer customer questions about when delivery is possible and if changes in an order still can be done, etc. This will most likely increase the customer satisfaction and customer experience. It will perhaps improve things like communication within the company as well.
The example is perhaps a bit simplified. But I think that it is showing that the benefits can be integrated in a project and therefore aligned with the strategy in a not immediately obvious way. And this small tweak will give an even better result compared to not include the BRM in this case at all. It also shows that what the theory describes as “align benefits with the strategy” is not that straight forward in reality.
And turning it around and say that a company should prioritize projects that will increase customer satisfaction, what would that have given the company in the example? A great looking webpage, maybe. With customers frustrated because while the webpage looks great, nothing else about the company works. So starting with only the benefits is perhaps viable either.
So, the theory describes it like it is really simple (aligning benefits to stategy) but in reality it seems to be a non-linear process with different phases that needs to be integrated and alternative routes to reach other possibilities discussed.
In the example, without the BRM-list the benefits of the project would not have been as good as when taken customer experience in to the equation. Now it was re-worked with a new desired benefit in mind because somebody had made a BRM-plan. Somebody wanted to lead the company in a certain direction.
I don’t remember where I heard it or who said it, but it goes something like; unspoken wishes, needs and goals will be fulfilled randomly. Think about that for a while…
If you want to lead a company in a certain way, communicating that clearly direction is important. Essential even. Communicating that through BRM seams to be a good idea since benefits can be drawn from all types of portfolios and projects. But I think it all comes down to how you work with it and the execution in the end.