B is for… benefit realisation

How do we know we have provided a benefit to the stakeholder?

Senior Consultant Ben Daymond asks: 'how can we know when we have provided a benefit?'

What do we mean by a benefit? One definition is: "a benefit is an outcome of change which is perceived as positive by a stakeholder." (Gerald Bradley, Benefit Realisation Management)

At Frazer-Nash, we deliver change through providing expert technical advice and bespoke solutions. But how do we know we have provided a benefit to the stakeholder? Sometimes the benefit can be clearly observed and reported. An example in asset integrity could be to determine the cause of corrosion of a failed in-service component. We identify the root cause and mitigations to avoid the component’s failure in the future. The benefit to the stakeholder is understanding why the failure occurred and how to avoid it moving forward.

But let's think about a more complex example of change: you want to improve monitoring and management of an asset, to protect against environmental degradation through life.

To start, you must have a clear vision and bounding objectives – let's say the vision is to reduce your cost of corrosion by 50%. The objective could be to stop unexpected failures, improve maintenance turn-around, and increase the life of your components. Then you need to build a benefits map that leads to the objectives you have set. One such benefit thread could be:

Graph describing a benefit thread

Benefits can be classified in several ways and can occur in the short, medium and long term. It is important to agree how benefits will be measured. Some can be measured financially, but some may be intangible but no less important: the social impact of improving management of the asset for example.

New capability may be needed to support the benefits, for example, new sensor technology, or developing a digital twin of the asset to analyse the new data to support life prediction. These should be linked into the benefits, to clearly show the dependencies.

As a clear project plan is essential to develop new technology it is crucial to have a benefits management plan from the beginning of the project, through it, and beyond, to successfully realise the benefits for the stakeholder. Throughout the plan, benefit reviews should be undertaken to see which are completed, on track, or at risk. A final benefits review is needed at a point after project completion, to ensure successful project implementation and integration has occurred and that long-term benefits will be realised.

At Frazer-Nash, we take this phased approach, to guide the stakeholder to their vision, achieve the required objectives, clearly show how new capability will improve asset integrity against corrosion, and realise the benefits of new asset management strategies.

Great things are not done by impulse but by a series of small things brought together.

Vincent Van Gogh

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