Managing the realization of business benefits from IT investments

Peppard, Joe; Ward, John and Daniel, Elizabeth (2007). Managing the realization of business benefits from IT investments. MIS Quarterly Executive, 6(1) pp. 1–11.



With their information technology (IT) investments, most organizations focus on implementing the technology rather than on realizing the expected business benefits. Consequently, benefits are not forthcoming, despite a project's technical success. Drawing on more than 10 years of research studying how organizations can improve the return on their IT investments, we present an approach for identifying, planning, and managing the delivery of benefits. Our benefits management approach begins with IT professionals and business managers together answering seven questions about a potential IT investment. These questions aim to uncover three important aspects of the investment: the ends (the target performance improvements), the ways (the ways the business must work differently), and the means (the enabling IT capabilities). With these answers, the team can build a cause-effect network--called the Benefits Dependency Network (BDN)--which shows how each of the improvements can be achieved by a combination of business changes and new IT capabilities. It also makes clear who needs to become accountable for making the specific changes and delivering the benefits. The completed network provides the basis for developing both a robust business case for the investment and a viable change management plan to deliver the benefits. The results are better investment decisions and benefits-driven implementation plans, both of which lead to realizing more benefits from IT investments.

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