What is Benefits Management, what interpretations exist and how is the process structured?
Realisation and tracking of business benefits
Benefits Management deals with the identification, definition, planning, realisation and pursuit of business benefits and corporate goals. A business advantage can be material or immaterial and express itself in higher sales and market shares or in image and customer satisfaction. A benefit can thus be regarded as the desired effect of an investment, a portfolio, a program, a project, an initiative or a transformation. The prerequisite for this is that the benefit is measurable and makes a value contribution in the perception of the stakeholders. The opposite of a benefit is a disbenefit, i.e. a deterioration perceived by the stakeholders that is detrimental to the company’s objectives.
Various interpretations of Benefits Management
Benefits Management – sometimes also referred to as Benefits Realisation Management – is described in many standards and methods:
- The Project Management Institute PMI) defines Benefits Management in “The Standard for Program Management – Third Edition” as “the process of clarifying the planned benefits and intended outcomes of a program.
- Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) as a programme management framework describes “focusing on the benefits and their threats” and declares Benefits Management as a management and control principle.
- And the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) addresses the benefits of solutions even after they have been put into operation as a so-called Solution Evaluation.
Each of these approaches goes well beyond an investment evaluation using a business case or a classic project, the evaluation of which is completed at the latest when the solution is put into operation.
The process in Benefits Management
Benefits management is described either as a process with four steps (identification, planning, implementation and verification) or alternatively with five steps:
- Identification and structuring of benefits with the recording of requirements and the derivation as well as documentation of the advantages (and possible disadvantages).
- Definition of the Benefits Management Plan with the description of roles and responsibilities, priorities and key figures.
- Planning of the benefits realisation with the description of the benefits, the noticeable changes and the measurement of the benefits.
- Implementation of changes and active search for additional benefits.
- Realisation of benefits with tracking and ensuring permanent change.
Frequently, dealing with benefits management in organisations also leads to a rethink – away from an internal focus in the direction of customers and their benefits: