Part Five: How does your company feel about the inclusion of indirect or “soft” benefits?
One of the knocks I often hear against content management ROI is that the majority of benefits are indirect and that a company resists their inclusion. Let’s start with a few examples:
Employee time savings
Process automation (enabling and participating in workflows)
Finding accurate content quickly
Improved decision-making processes
CSRs handling an increased number of customers
The best way to measure these indirect benefits is to proactively perform time studies. Perhaps this work could be included as a component of a pilot project? If, for example, prior to the implementation of the content management system, a Tier 1 CSR could manage eighteen (18) transactions per hour and post-implementation this figure is doubled to thirty six (36) transactions per hour, you now have tangible data at your disposal. Other options for the inclusion of indirect benefits include: using a specific percentage (ie. 25%) of the benefits, or lumping these indirect benefits into a section at the end of your ROI analysis and call on/use them only if needed.
See part Four here
See part Three here
Davenport, Iowa (Monday, June 21, 2010) - Redstone Content Solutions LLC has announced the launching of its new blog. The blog (http://www.redstonecontentsolutions.com/business-blog.html), to be updated multiple times per month, will focus primarily on relevant Content Management, Enterprise 2.0 & Portals and Service-Oriented Architecture topics of interest to the Information Technology (IT) business user community.
"Here, we will discuss topics such as Return on Investment and training, to name a few", comments John Klein, co-founder of Redstone. "Our goal with this blog is to illicit thought from the business user community by providing practical knowledge that can be used to enhance one's own work experience."
"The vast majority of posts will be factual statements supported by data from leading industry experts, and this business user-focused blog will complement our already popular technical blog" (http://www.redstonecontentsolutions.com/technical-blog.html), states Jason Stortz, co-founder of Redstone.
Darren Rowse, Author of ProBlogger says "Blogs are an incredible way to build a connection with your audience. People get a chance to sample your content, get to know you, and establish trust in you, all at their own pace."
For further information regarding enterprise content management solutions, please visit Redstone Content Solutions at www.redstonecontentsolutions.com or call John Klein at (563) 505.9998.
Part Four: ROI Approach
The required timeframe is estimated not only by the overall time needed for the project but also by how much time you are willing to commit to the actual analysis.
Do you have a crystal ball?
Most often, the original intent for conducting the analysis is to give you the needed information to make a future investment. In terms of a content management example, estimates of annual support and maintenance payments are likely to be used. Intrinsic in assumptions made are unknown factors that may be outside of your control. In the annual support and maintenance example, an assumption of a 20% annual payment becomes skewed if the software manufacturer institutes a change. In this example, an external factor may increase the payment to 22% annually which could have a significant impact on the projected costs and payback period.
The implementation of content management should be considered a process and not a project, and as such, independent results can be expected when reviewing actual cost and benefit data. “Pilot” projects provide the needed information for the retrospective ROI approach. A recommended best practice is to review and perform a per project analysis each time the content management tool is leveraged. Once document management functionality has been instituted in one department, the incremental expense to enable additional departments will be nominal as initial start-up costs like hardware infrastructure, System Administrator training, etc. are “sunk” at that point.
See Part Three here
See Part Two here
See Part One here
Part Three: Enterprise Architecture and Context
Current business process
The context of an IT project is determined within the current business process(es) that will be impacted and improved by the investment. An analysis will reveal business process costs and possible benefits that changes to the process may illicit. An example of a business process cost is the documentation or mapping of the existing process. If the current process is complex, it will likely include multiple departments or divisions, and the mapping process may involve many individuals. What then would be an example of a business process benefit? Consider a scenario in which a manual conversion process of a native file to one or more web viewable formats is automated. The manual task is no longer required post implementation, so the benefits are time savings and improved efficiency.
Understanding the costs and benefits in the context of the organization is equally important. An example of a business cost is the current employee on-boarding process at many companies. Job candidates fill out multiple documents and forms which are manually filed by Human Resources (HR). A business benefit is easily created by establishing automated routing of an electronic HR form from a job candidate to the Human Resources Assistant and then to the Manager of Human Resources.
Lastly, a familiarity with the costs and benefits of external constituencies is needed. A general example of an external cost is a taxonomy expert who is contracted to provide an add-on software product to your solution or consulting services billed at an hourly charge rate structure. A relevant example of an external resource benefit is the automated routing of documents that need to be translated. Instead of physically shipping the English version of a marketing flyer to a chosen translation provider, the new delivery mechanism becomes a secure extranet website with a link to the most current version of the English document.
Another example is a procurement website developed by one company intended to be used by its vendors. An improvement in the time required to make Purchase Orders available may be realized, but don’t forget about the initial training costs required to educate users on the new system or capability.
See Part Two here
See Part One here