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The term “return on investment” is one of the it industry’s
favorite buzzwords, as vendors go out of their way to show their technologies
are worth the money buyers spend on them. Naturally, channel partners in recent
years also have placed a lot of emphasis on demonstrating the value of the technology
they sell, deploy and service for their end-user customers.

Demonstrating the business value of a technology to customers makes infinite sense,
from the solution provider’s perspective.

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The problem is that how exactly customers measure ROI remains, at best, an
inexact science. Close to 40 percent of companies polled by CIO Insight, a sister
publication of eWeek Strategic Partner, don’t even measure ROI. The survey,
which polled IT and business executives, found that 62 percent of companies
measure ROI but that the actual value is difficult to calculate.

Fifty-two percent of executives have serious doubts about the results of their
companies’ value measurements, and 45 percent concede their metrics do
not provide an accurate picture, according to the survey.

Companies resort to various metrics to calculate value, but there is little
consensus beyond customer satisfaction on which to use as a standard set of
measures. In addition, according to the CIO Insight poll, only about half of
the companies believe it is necessary to measure ROI before a project gets under
way and after it reaches completion.

Regardless of these results, the focus on ROI isn’t going to fade any
time soon. Solution providers’ customers are sure to continue demanding
proof the technology they buy is worth the investment. And providers will continue
to have to make a compelling case to them about value and do their best to deliver.

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