IT ROI calculations

June 26, 2007 at 1:53 pm | Posted in Technical | Leave a comment

I have been trying to research ways companies track ROI associated with various IT projects, and  I have to admit, I’m becoming frustrated. There doesn’t seem to be a standard  out there for any part of the business  world in which IT is involved. 

I suppose this goes back to the unique nature of IT as a part of business. Remember, a long time ago I wrote about how all the geeky guys with pocket protectors got stuck in the closet when they first entered corporate America and never came out? I get the feeling that problem persists! As I have studied page after page of white papers and reports, it seems that IT staff are rarely called upon to make a solid business argument for their choices. Even when a company is in trouble, IT is the last group they consult to streamline operations.  (Or so it seemed to me as I read one story after another on the subject.) I have also noticed that some companies do have ROI calculators on their web sites; but these tend to be slanted in such a way to convince the user to purchase a certain product no matter what. As a DCC staffer I’m honor-bound not to recommend that type of tool, because we promise our customers that we are brand neutral. Frankly, I am looking for a real ROI tool, not a glorified sales tool, because sometimes “no, don’t buy this product” is the right answer.

In my opinion, today’s marketplace requires IT agility. It requires IT efficiency to compete on costs, and it also requires IT accountability for data integrity, uptime, and efficiency. Why, after all, would we expect any less from our IT team than we do of our accounting team? If the accounting team took 6-8 weeks to launch a new check to pay a bill, surely the company would drop everything and reorganize until that problem was solved, right?

At any rate, all frustrations aside, I’m working on a comprehensive IT project ROI worksheet, which I hope will help. I am writing mostly about virtualization in my worksheet, since that’s one of the more difficult things to assess, but I think it could be useful for lots of different IT projects if you change a word or two. If you’re interested in my ROI worksheet, just hop over to our main web site  ( and sign up for our e-Newsletter. I will have the project completed in time for our July e-News mailing.


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