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Other Examples of Communicating Value

Value should be quantifiable and measurable. It's best to communicate value in its simplest recognizable form. Consider the following examples of a department trying to communicate value:

Original Version

Value Communication Version

We built a robust, flexible editorial platform that is scalable and automates the editorial process, utilizing redirectional metadata technology to deliver abstract, encapsulated information.

We built a reliable and flexible editorial tool that gathers, presents, and delivers customized information to our clients. The tool reduces product-creation time by 40% and can deliver information in any industry-standard format without requiring technical intervention.


Value is best communicated to the enterprise by IT's business partners. The right relationship and recognition of value lead to the ideal situation of business partners becoming "evangelists." At a fundamental level, it needs to be understood (without having to say so) that underpinning the entire process of value creation is the partnering relationship. All members of IT need to be educated to recognize their business contributions. All need to understand their business partners' concerns and address them both formally and informally.

The real-life examples in Tables 1 and 2 illustrate value communication in different circumstances.

Table 1 Analyst Workstation

Background

Multiple desktop tools.

No reliable network.

Obsolete hardware and software.

General perception of value to be obtained but no visceral appreciation of potential value; therefore, no incentive to make the necessary investment to move forward.

Objective

Create a desktop environment and infrastructure that allows analysts to do their jobs more effectively.

Issue

How to demonstrate the value of the proposed desktop (and its supporting infrastructure).

What was done

Selected an influential Managing Director (MD) who recognized the value of the desktop. The MD became a partner and was instrumental in the development of the workstation prototype. He also encouraged other analysts to work with the team.

Made the workstation an analyst creation that IT would implement. This was not an IT creation or project.

Helped the MD to document actual examples of his daily workflow; automated that workflow with real data within the prototype. This was not a production prototype, so work was illustrated through screens only.

How value was communicated

"Performed" a day in the life of "Rob Analyst" for an executive audience. Rob and two analysts from his team were the starring actors. Three PCs were set up at tables in a large conference room. All three PCs were connected to the network, with their monitors displaying on a large screen at the front of the room.

Act 1: Took an actual workflow with actual data and illustrated how data was gathered, manipulated, analyzed, shared, and put into a product. This included all the manual handoffs and redundant effort, with man-hours illustrated.

Act II: Ran through the proposed workflow with the same cast using the same information and the new workflow. Reinforced through activity reports, presentations (for example, post-implementation reviews).

Results

The play resulted in a standing ovation. The audience not only recognized the value in a personal way but also added significantly more potential value with immediate suggestions for present and future enhancements.

This exercise communicated not only a value, but a vision.

When this initiative came up for funding, it had already become a road show and was warmly approved.


Table 2 Workflow Manager

Background

Inconsistent processes across workgroups.

Current processes required centralized groups.

High volume could only be handled by expanding staffing.

Enterprise expansion called for decentralized groups in geographically dispersed offices.

Expenses were growing too rapidly to meet increased volume.

Desire to avoid hiring "to peak" and being over-staffed at some future date.

No availability of management information.

Objective

To enable geographic decentralization, improve the processes of the analytical groups and capture management information necessary for administration and control of the new unit.

Issue

How to measure the value, beyond simply "allowing the physical moves to happen."

What was done

A dedicated project team staffed with analysts and technologists reengineered the workflow, automated the new processes, trained everyone to obtain maximum value from the new approach, and set up help desk specialists to ease the transition.

How value was communicated

Created measurements that were easily captured and clearly understood by all.

The system was designed to capture the measurement information. Collected baseline ("before") data for comparison with new ("after") measurement data. Measurements included average time for completion (by category of deliverable), deliverables/office, deliverables (by category)/analyst.

The business unit proudly presented the results to the executive committee and became an evangelist.


Wherever possible, value should be quantifiable and measurable. Keep the business aware of not only status but also direction. Use your business champions as evangelists. Keep the executive committee in mind (anecdotes, key high-level accomplishments, letters of praise). Operational advances can be demonstrated via "a day in the life."

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