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ROI and the digital workplace.

Return on investment, how can it contribute to a compelling business case?

Return on Investment, the big question of any project. How much did we invest and what did we get in return? We talk about a successful project when the ROI is high. Is it only about money?

Well, that is an interesting one. The answer is simple. No. 
When talking about a digital workplace, it goes further than only financial advantages. The ROI should be measured in a much broader context like the impact on the employees, external users and the enterprise as a whole.

ROI to support your business case

Imagine, you are totally convinced of the positive impact of a digital workplace. If you want approval to introduce a modern workplace, it needs a solid business case that is supported by clear figures. The ROI is a great tool to get the most important stakeholders on board.

Define the problem and find out what the impact will be…

A lot of issues can be solved with a digital workplace, but you have to demonstrate the benefits for the enterprise, supported by financial data (gained and lost revenue) and the calculated ROI. To do so, you can write down a list of ‘to improve’ points where the benefits are measurable and tangible. By using real cases thus real problems, it’s easier to convince the management to start building your digital workplace.

For example contract management. Today, more and more contracts are in a digital form, without a paper copy. Traditional storage isn't an option anymore. So calculate the costs of traditional storage and compare it with the costs and benefits of digital preservation. A ROI that stakeholders can't deny.

Be able to prove the integration plan by clear milestones and deliverables.

One important element to be successful is user adoption. It will take some time to get employees to use your application, so it needs to be foreseen in your planning. Your plan should consist out of clear milestones, budgets per milestone, deliverables and responsibilities. It is one of the most important elements to convince management that their investment will be useful.

Report and follow up.

Show also how you will track progress and what the impact will be on revenue and costs. Involve the management team and have monthly review meetings. Involving management is one part of your communication, but also communicate the results to your employees. Reporting should NOT go by paper or emails with static figures (thus defacto outdated). Reporting to both groups should happen in real time by providing an online dashboard that’s accessible whenever they want.

Don't forget about change.

The digital workplace isn’t a static environment. The world changes, culture changes, customers and partners change and even employees change. So, it’s important to always keep change in the back of your mind. Make a change plan to be able to predict the costs and benefits as they impact the ROI of your project.

The conclusion is that you need to be able to clearly define what you want to digitise, how you will digitise it, what digitisation will cost and what the digital workplace will bring in terms of additional revenue. It is a complex exercise that needs to be well thought over. Providing good results on ROI will support you in getting your organisation even more digital in the future. Contact us if you need more information.

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