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CIOs want their solution providers to offer return on investment analysis, but only a small percentage of solution providers offer it.

That’s according to new research from the Ziff Davis Enterprise IT Executives Service Provider Study conducted in February 2008.

The survey offered insight into what sorts of services CIOs were looking for and getting from their solution providers, and what would make them switch from one solution provider to another.

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Of the CIOs surveyed, 10 percent said solution providers already provided them with ROI analysis, but 28 percent said they were looking for more ROI analysis from their solution providers.

"Demonstrating ROI is extremely important, especially in a tight financial market, where companies are forced to decide where they spend limited dollars," said Jere Brown, CEO of the Americas division of Dimension Data, a $3.8 billion solution provider and one of Cisco’s largest partners. "Companies are also asking for ROI analysis around new technologies, such as unified communications … By demonstrating return on investment, solution providers can help drive these solutions to their clients."

But it’s not always an easy task to provide ROI analysis to clients, said George Vahle, vice president of sales and marketing for San Diego-based MSP The IT Pros.

"The thing solution providers need to quantify ROI is internal data," he said. "Under a traditional VAR model, customers hold this data close to the chest. If they want us to quantify ROI, then they need to trust us with the truth about hard and soft costs in their enterprise."

The CIO survey also showed that the top thing CIOs wanted solution providers to offer was advice on business and technology trends.