Dynamics Matters Podcast: Ep 26 - How to measure RoI from your technology projects

With special guest Adrian Blake, Project DIrector at HSO.

This episode covers:

✓ How to successfully show the RoI for your projects

✓ What things should you be measuring

✓ Demonstrate improvements on revenue, growth and efficiency

Transcription

Intro

Michael Lonnon

I want to talk to you about technology delivery and seeing the success of the things that you’re putting in place. When I think about it, there are three things’ executives generally care about most revenue, growth and cost. That’s why they put technology in to improve one of those areas but what sort of things do you think in your experience, get measured, and should perhaps be measured in a technology project?

Adrian Blake

The scalability, the ability to be able to grow your business on the same number of resources that’s absolutely crucial to any project. People want to expand their business by 10% or 20% every year, but they don’t want to expand their workforce by 10%, or 20% so that’s a definite measure. Efficiencies, stock availability, number of back orders, trying to reduce that number, number of people picking, number of pick fails, those sorts of measures are crucial, especially in retail and manufacturing.

Michael Lonnon

Do you find these things are being looked at because they’ve reached a critical point, and by that, I mean they look at whether technology is going to fail, because the company is growing or because they are old or they just aren’t able to create those efficiencies? What general triggers do you see?

Adrian Blake

It’s that fear of losing business. I’ve seen systems crash around peak trading times. Saturday mornings, when people are trying to get into the shops and trying to buy stuff, the inability to be able to do something. I see companies try to grow internationally and they just cannot, fulfil it. When they do get a system in place to support it, they can’t see the numbers so they’re not measuring apples to apples.

Michael Lonnon

In terms of those projects, what sort of things look like success? You talked about efficiencies and scalability, how can those efficiencies and their changes be measured? What sort of tools do they have? What sort of different ways do they have to measure whether they’ve reached those outcomes?

Adrian Blake

There’s the project objectives and then there’s the people who are actually using the system and utilising the processes. That’s quite easy to measure, you just perform an audit on how they’re doing. Then your objectives at the beginning, you’ve got your KPIs defined for the projects and the implementation, then it’s a case of looking at the numbers from Power BI. There’s very simple ways to actually achieve them.

Michael Lonnon

It’s critical to have objectives set and well versed in advance of any project because you can’t see the end and when do you reach success and reach the end without them?

Adrian Blake

This is fundamental. If you don’t have something key to start with people get excited, all the blue sky thinking all those frustrations for the last 10 years, come out and all of a sudden that project has exploded. Keeping to scope and having strong people making sure you keep into the scope is key. You do have to listen to what people are saying and what your heart is saying to actually keep it to that scope. Then you can go live, in budget and on time. If you don’t do that, you’re not clear what you’re trying to achieve at the beginning, excitement and curiosity starts to dwindle.

Michael Lonnon

Those anchors are important in making sure that you go from that point of setting the objectives before you start the project and then reaching the point at the end where you’ve you believe as a business, you’ve met those objectives?

Adrian Blake

It’s important to have a really strong sponsor on the customer side, good, strong project management as well, and probably someone really good who is actually looking after the solution and the implementation. It’s very important to have those core people driving it forward.

Michael Lonnon

On your experience, do you think people’s expectations change throughout a project from the start to the end, because new unknowns are found, or things change?

Adrian Blake

I’ve been in this industry now 20 years, but I found in the last few years, people have become more mature about what needs to be achieved. I know 10/15 years ago, people got very excited, so they got to the end of the analysis and say were going to implement them. Now people have had their fingers burnt and they’re saying we don’t really run a blue sky thinking phase so much anymore. I think the expectations are kept to a standard and are realistic these days.

Michael Lonnon

If there was one piece of advice that you had to give to any organisation thinking about planning a project and looking at that return element at the end of it, what might that be?

Adrian Blake

Just be clear about the senior management team in your business and what you’re trying to achieve.

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