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Lessons in Driving Value

As consultants, we frequently find ourselves in situations where we must describe, demonstrate, or even quantify the value we are bringing to the table. We have become accustomed to answering questions like Why is this role a good fit for an outside resource? or Can you help me understand the ROI?

While questions such as these may be more commonplace in a consulting environment, they aren’t unique to consulting. I believe it is important for everyone to understand and have the capacity to communicate the value of their work. After all, if you can’t make a compelling case, are you really driving value?

Answering these questions can become complex, depending upon the situation. Here are some questions that I find useful, along with a few examples I’ve come across!

Quantify One-time and Recurring Costs

Many projects and initiatives have upfront costs such as purchasing a technology platform, marketing and PR, training for employees, and much more. Future costs can be less clear. However, it would be negligent to exclude ongoing or recurring costs from this analysis.

  • Are there annual maintenance fees associated with the new technology?
  • Will you have to hire a resource to support new activities generated because of the work completed?

I recently helped a client select a new electronic medical record (EHR). One of the most significant costs they were required to plan for was the hiring of an EHR Manager to support ongoing operations.

Don’t Forget About the Cost of NOT Doing Something

While there are likely costs associated with completing the work, what are the costs of NOT completing it?

  • Will you miss out on an opportunity to gain market share or secure a competitive advantage?
  • Will your company culture be impacted in some way?
  • Will you wish you had done something a year from now?

I’m currently implementing a change management protocol to help a client through a big vendor transition. Forgoing this transition would mean forgoing the increased marketing presence and bulk discounts they will be afforded in the market place through a new marketing media vendor.

Intangible Benefits are Not Immaterial

Benefits are often less straightforward to quantify than costs. If you find yourself becoming frustrated, try asking the following:

  • Are there tasks that can be delegated because of this work, which will free up a resource to work on more strategic initiatives that otherwise would be delayed or overlooked?
  • Are there opportunities for cost or time savings down the road because of this work?

One example that comes to mind involves shifting to electronic, point-of-care documentation in a care setting. I once taught care givers at an assisted living facility how to use iPads throughout their shifts, rather than completing documentation at the nurses’ station during breaks. This saved on documentation time and allowed them to spend more time providing important care to residents.

Don’t be afraid to try these tips for yourself. Tweet us @InfoWorksTN to join the conversation!