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Proving Business Benefits - 6 Simple Steps

Proving Business Benefits - 6 Simple Steps

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Published by Carl Sawatzky
In today's economic climate, the process of proposing-and acquiring support for-any project has become a far more rigorous exercise. In this month's Management Insights by Peter Dillon-Parkin, learn how to use the six-step ADAPTS process to build a successful business case for your project that ensures a return on investment.
In today's economic climate, the process of proposing-and acquiring support for-any project has become a far more rigorous exercise. In this month's Management Insights by Peter Dillon-Parkin, learn how to use the six-step ADAPTS process to build a successful business case for your project that ensures a return on investment.

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Published by: Carl Sawatzky on May 04, 2009
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10/11/2013

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Learning Tree
Management Insights
EDITION 009
CALL 
1-800-843-8733
OR VISIT 
www.learningtree.ca
Expert Advice rom Today’s Top Proessionals
Creating and Proving BusinessBenefts in Six Simple Steps
Is this a amiliar scenario? You need to get managementapproval or your project to proceed. In a panic, you look orthe last proposal you wrote—or get a copy o the last successulone—and use it as a template. To be persuasive, you rame thebenets o the initiative by advancing “the numbers”, believingit’s what the business cares most about.But here’s the catch: You don’t have a clue how to prove yourinitiative’s benets using “the numbers” because there areintangible benets that are dicult to quantiy in both the shortand long term. You struggle with determining the cash valueo “increased eciency” and “improved morale”. Plus, yourknowledge o the nancial actors afecting the return rom thisproject is limited—so even the value rom the tangible benetsis suspect. Your recourse is to invent numbers or the intangiblebenets and mix them in with the tangible ones. You do all this,all the while knowing ull well that cash is historically the leastefective predictor o project success.On the up side, generating costs or the project is simpler, andonce you have your cost and benet numbers, you can providea cost/benet analysis. However, since the benet numbers youinvented are qualitatively diferent rom your cost numbers,your analysis is suspect at best.Nevertheless, you persevere and submit the proposal. One otwo things happens:1. Your proposal is approved because the key decision hadalready been made. Writing the proposal was simply aninternal process requirement and it was never actually read.2. Your proposal is read but rejected. While it had manynumbers, it never made a strong case or pursuing theproject, so management didn’t ully trust the cost/benetanalysis.For the purposes o this article, let’s presume the latteroutcome. In a proposal, tangible costs and benets do needto be compared to each other, but many businesses are alsoseeking to achieve benets that are harder to quantiy. Forexample, “improved eciency” is valuable, but how do youprove (or quantiy) that value?Rather than start with the numbers, consider the real goalso any proposal:
• Clearly outline what is being proposed• Demonstrate the ways in which the proposal benets
the business
• Make sure your proposal is understood by all stakeholders
(not just those with nance degrees)This is what’s involved in creating a successul business case,and it can be easily done using a simple six-step process called
ADAPTS
.
Peter Dillon-Parkin
Able Solution UK Ltd
Our
 Management Insights
article for this month addresses thefundamentals of creating a clear and persuasive business case. AuthorPeter Dillon- Parkin, a documentation specialist and business analyst,offers a six-step process for success.

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