February 29, 2024

How to Create the Business Case for IT Experience Management

You’ve probably read or heard a lot about the value of experience management and the power of experience data and insights – from what experience data shows to the improvements organisations make by investing in it.

However, justifying the investment in IT experience management might appear difficult for some organisations. Whether this is creating a business case to source the funds required to start or convincing the Finance Director that the benefits of IT experience management far outweigh the costs.

This blog is here to help – with practical guidance on creating a successful business case for experience management. In particular, it’s aim is to show that it’s not difficult to justify the investment in the HappySignals Experience Platform and the capabilities required to leverage the resulting experience data and insights.

The focus of your experience management business case

When approaching the opportunities offered by experience management, it’s important to appreciate that there are multiple elements to consider. For business case creation, in particular, it might need to cover the costs related to one or more of the following three experience management adoption areas:

  • Acquiring an experience management tool or service.
  • Building the capabilities required to analyse and report experience data and insights (plus to prioritise the resulting improvement opportunities).
  • Undertaking the prioritised improvement opportunities.

This blog focuses on the first of these three elements. However, the business case creation approach could also be extended to cover the others.

What to include in an initial experience management business case

Business cases usually live or die based on the hard benefits included. For experience management, this is the hours saved by IT and end-users, quantified in financial terms, that result from more efficient IT processes and the reduction in inefficient operations (such as reassigned or bounced tickets).

This benefit area is built on understanding the true cost of IT incidents or other areas of IT service delivery and support that adversely affect end-user productivity, which factors in the IT and business costs of each IT-related disruption or issue to business operations.

IT industry authority Roy Atkinson’s “Measurement, Management and Money” webinar explains this for incident handling, calling out the costs of end-user lost productivity that IT doesn’t see. Here, the popular IT service desk “fully burdened cost-per-ticket” metric only includes the IT cost of handling an incident. The business impact of the incident – the cost of an unproductive end-user, or multiple employees and business operations – is ignored (and likely unknown).

Roy explains that when the annual IT cost of incident handling is $500,000, the business cost is approximately $3,500,000 per annum based on the average lost productivity and employee cost. So, IT only sees one-eighth of the business cost of IT incidents.

Knowing this true business cost of IT incidents better positions IT organisations to create a financially focused business case for experience management.

In addition to the productivity-related benefits, which can be financially quantified using averages, the increase in end-user IT happiness is a soft benefit that has hard benefit consequences, including increased employee productivity and retention (where the loss of employees and need to recruit can incur significant costs).

Another soft benefit is the increased level of employee experience feedback responses versus traditional customer satisfaction (CSAT) questionnaires. Here, the additional data and insight that result allow for improved IT decision-making, especially using contextual data. For example, one CTMS customer found issues with their headsets that were identified and addressed, improving employee productivity.

The positive effect of experience data and insight on IT decision-making is well known. When customers of HappySignals were surveyed about the benefits of experience management, “Happier end-users” was the top response at 89%. However, the following three benefits were jointly second at 64%:

  • Better focus for IT teams.
  • IT can make better decisions based on data.
  • More motivated IT employees.

    Extracts from a real-world experience management business case

    These and other areas can all be included in your experience management business case. Here are some examples drawn from real business cases that we have worked on with our clients.

    • Providing a balanced view of IT performance – without experience data, it’s easy for senior management to have a negative view of how IT delivers IT services to the organisation because only the negative perceptions tend to be mentioned by the business. An IT experience management (ITXM) programme provides a far more balanced view of IT, with regular positive feedback visible to C-level management. This improves IT staff motivation and leads to improved job retention, reducing recruitment costs and training requirements for new staff.
    • IT staff efficiency savings – customers often find that the number of tickets their service desk receives is considerably higher than the market norm. It can be stated in the business case that, by targeting ticket volume reduction to meet industry standards, there’s a direct efficiency saving in terms of freed-up headcount resources, which can be allocated to improved customer services or cost reductions.
    • Reduction in tickets bouncing between service desk L1/L2 teams – tickets bouncing between L1 and L2 service desk teams cause dissatisfaction and lost productivity for end-users. Experience data brings the transparency required to ensure that actions are put in place between L1/L2 to resolve the issue. For example, the L2 teams write better knowledge articles for the L1 team to use resulting in higher first-time resolution rates.
    • IT team collaboration and culture shifts – experience management and continual improvement increase the communication between IT teams, which can turn around a negative culture into one that encourages respect and collaboration.
    • Helps with monthly 1-2-1s between IT line managers and employees – managers can share all the positive feedback received with the respective team members. This requires minimal admin, helps with monthly 1-2-1s effectiveness, and is a morale booster.

    What if a formal business case isn’t needed?

    Depending on your organisation’s financial policies and practices, a formal business case might not be needed. But even if the introduction of experience management is viewed as a “just do it (JDI)” initiative “sent down from above,” there’s still value in looking at the expected benefits within your organisation. If only to set expectations on how adopting experience management capabilities will improve IT and business operations and outcomes.

    Overcoming the common objections to experience management adoption

    While the business case for experience management might look positive in financial terms, there still might be doubts about collecting and analysing experience data. The commonly seen objections include:

    • Privacy concerns – where end-users think their responses will somehow be used against them.
    • Questions about actionability – where end-users might feel their feedback won’t result in actual improvements.
    • Resource prioritisation – that time and resources could be better utilised elsewhere.
    • Various “resistance to change” situations – there might be resistance to the idea of open feedback or a “this is how we’ve always done it” mindset.

    While these and other common objections can be addressed individually, the alternative is to tackle them head-on in the business case. For instance, the objection related to actionability can be addressed through shared insight on how the data will be used (in your organisation) and examples of how other organisations have used their experience data and insights to improve business operations and outcomes.

    Written by David Keen, CTMS Technical Services Director