The ILM was launched in a book called “Benefits Management” which is unfortunate because people therefore think if is a benefits management tool. It is and it isn’t.
The ILM was designed by Cranfield School of Management to enable IT departments to link IT investments to business benefits so as to overcome the often large conceptual gap between all of the investment in IT and the business results desired.
The ILM has five key sections
Driver or reason for doing something
Actions, what is to be done
Benefits of these actions
Tools and software that enable the benefits/actions
Infrastructure investment required
The idea is that you can read right to centre and left to centre to see the benefits that arise from your actions and technology investments. All of this is done in ‘loosey-goosy’ language that requires separate KPIs to be defined by which the benefits in the central column can be measured. All of this is a bit vague and unmeasurable (the exact opposite to the TOP Value Equation™).
The ILM is restricted to one page and therefore deliberately restricts the number of benefits to, often three or four. Hardly a vehicle for value maximization!
Where the ILM is good is as a simple thinking tool early on in a project. What are we trying to achieve? What is the problem we’re solving? What types of benefits are we aiming for? All good questions and many organizations have found the ILM useful in clarifying the answers to these types of questions in the conceptual phase of a project.
But a benefits management tool it is not. It fails on almost every count. The actions are unmeasurable; the benefits are unmeasurable, the KPIs are often not closely related to the benefits. How the benefits will be delivered is not defined, it doesn’t align costs to anything in particular and so on. Indeed, if you actually read the book you’ll see that it ends with the generation of the ILM and does not cover benefits realization. Whoops, what an omission.
So, while the ILM helps organizations think through their initial ideas it is not a real benefits management tool; and if you rely on it for end-to-end benefits management you’ll fail.