So, What’s the ROI on That?
One of the ongoing challenges IT/telecom professionals face on a regular basis is being bombarded by managers and end users with software and/or devices they claim to need. In some cases, they truly are needed and solve a real issue. However, in other cases it's more of a "nice to have" which can end up costing more than it's really worth.
How can you determine if that piece of technology your end users (or you!) are eager to deploy makes sense? Will it pay for itself? If so, how? And when?
These are questions that can be answered by taking the time to evaluate your ROI. Of course, the goal of calculating your return on investment is to, at a minimum, recoup the expense or, better yet, to be able to show that the investment will drive more revenue to the bottom line.
In short, conducting an ROI prior to a software or other technology purchase helps you:
- How can we support more efficient customer acquisition?
- Determine the cost of ownership over time.
- etermine the actual value of the investment against its cost.
- Justify the value of a new piece of technology to senior management. Or, conversely, to push back against purchases that may not yield a tangible benefit.
There are plenty of articles and tools available to calculate ROI. Here are some key questions to ask yourself and your team as you evaluate new technology for your organization:
- Will the technology help you make more sales?
If so, you will want to calculate the current cost of the sales activities the software will replace. Will the technology save time and enable sales to make more calls? How many more? Will it improve the chance of closing more sales? If so, what is the estimated dollars in added business?
- Will the technology improve efficiencies in customer service?
Will this impact retention? Will it improve the level of service to customers? Will it save time? If so, how many hours per day?
- Will the technology enable you to accomplish more with fewer employees?
What is the estimated savings in pay and benefits? Can the savings be used to hire in another area or engage outsourced services? It is also important to consider the cost of doing nothing. In the case of technology expense management software, for example, not being able to track invoices and cost of unused equipment may result in billing errors not being caught. It may also result in being charged for equipment and/or services no longer being used. Those are just a couple of reasons that our WinBill® TEM has been known to have an ROI of 250% or more, typically paying for itself in less than three months.
Ultimately, no ROI calculation is 100% accurate. There will always be some "unknowns" in each equation. However, by including in all your review processes an ROI calculation you will have gone a long way towards making a more compelling case for (or against) each new piece of technology that comes your way. Over time, developing best practices in ROI calculation will save your organization time and money, and earn your IT department the respect and trust you deserve.