The Business Case did not stack up
The organisation’s works management system needed to be replaced as it was running on an old platform and no longer supported by the vendor.
The business case was largely developed by the IT department, as it was seen as just a system replacement, with some input from the business. It all looked good and was approved. After spending close to 1.6 million dollars the project was shelved. There were 7 go-live dates, benefits kept being descoped, there was no change management plan, governance broke down and the blame game started.
We used the investment management standard (IMS) to redo the business case and find out what was the actual problem and what benefits could be delivered. This enabled the client to set their maximum investment level.
The IMS workshops focused on
- What is the actual problem?
- What are the benefits of solving this problem?
- What are the possible interventions?
- What is the best option to deliver the benefits?
The client’s business delivery model was changed to reflect the customer expectations and take advantage of new digital technology.
The project was delivered – cost $400,000
Benefits outlined in the business case were delivered – estimated financial benefit $1,100,000 over three years. Non-financial – improved customer experience, reduced risk, decrease time to approve applications.
The change management plan ensured that staff had a high level of usage and adoption after sufficient training and support had been provided.
No benefits were delivered
It all started well. The project was close to finishing, was on-time and budget. The scope was going to be delivered and now it was time for training.
That is when things started to go wrong. The users were asking “why are we changing to a new system when there are no improvements?” “This seems like a waste of time” “The changes I asked for are not here, I thought they would be included”
Whilst we did not want to go back to the drawing board it was clear that the users were not involved past the initial round of workshops and needed to be.
So it needed to be determined what can be done to deliver benefits.
Workshops were held to prioritise area of greatest concern and which could be improved. We used the DMAIC and Lean methodologies to achieve this. Process maps were developed using SIPOC and BMPN methodologies.
This helped to identify which processes could be changed to offer the greatest benefit and also to prioritise future changes.
Further development work was completed to deliver the process changes and benefits. This did incur additional project costs but delivered a better solution.
Increase in the usage and adoption of the solution
Benefits were delivered in areas of improved efficiency, decrease in data errors, elimination of several manual forms and increase in customer self-service offerings
Strategic Plan was not followed
The Strategic Plan sat there, on the shelf and was very lonely. Few people outside the strategy and governance group actually read it or were aware of its implications.
The new CEO started a few months ago and was curious as to why. After all a Plan has two primary purposes. First, and foremost, it should be used to help run the company with a more cohesive vision and be a roadmap for the organisation and all activities should have a line of sight back to the business plan.
Why was this a problem – well the new CEO was brought in for a reason. Sales were static, costs were going up and staff retention rates were dropping. She was wondering did we have the right business model, are we in the right business etc?
Firstly to create a shared vision(s). Yes we actually had several and did not want to limit the vision too early to see which vision is best, is affordable and can be implemented.
A change management plan was developed based on the ADKAR methodology and used as a basis for all activities.
From there we worked with the organisation to establish target smart goals and objectives. These were then costed and fed back to senior management.
This was decision time. What did they want, what could they afford, how was this going to be achieved?
The next few months were spent developing a plan to answer these questions. Staff were brought along with the journey and provided great insight about the business and how the vision could be delivered. Importantly they could see how they could play a part and see their role in the plan.
Whilst the plan is not used on a day-to-day basis it is used for:
- KPI development
- Performance plans
- Product development
Sales are definitely up, costs have reduced slightly but more importantly unit costs have decreased. As a side, there is an innovation hub, created and driven by staff to bring new products and services to market.
Costs keep going up
The government organisation provided subsidies for people who used excess amount of their service. The problem is that the subsidy kept on going up and up to the detriment of other services. Something had to give.
Using Lean and Six Sigma we documented the actual process (As Is) and the metrics around the service. We needed to answer the question – Were the costs actually going up? To what group of customers? Is that absolute costs or per application? In addition looking at government policy – were we over servicing customers?
Once all that information was gathered it was now decision time.
- How much subsidy was the organisation prepared to allocate?
- Who should get the subsidy?
- How do we monitor that it is going to the people most in need?
- How can we make the process more efficient?
With these and other questions answered it was now time to implement the changes.
Estimated costs savings of $4,000,000 over a three year period as a result of the changes
Time to process an application reduced from one week to hours
Subsidy increased for those deemed in hardship or at risk of hardship
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Business Case Learnings
Business Cases – Choosing the right option
How organisations have learned lessons from projects, business cases, post implementation reviews etc.
Combining the right mix of interventions to logically selecting the right option