Everything about technology projects seems to revolve around ROI–return on investment. The C-level executives want to know how long it will take to recoup the initial investment before giving a project the stamp of approval.
Blair Pleasant questioned the logic and practicality of that approach in a recent article:
Networking and telecom pros know they must prove unified communications (UC) return on investment (ROI) to their CIO, CEO or CXO before purchasing and implementing unified communications solutions and that ROI needs to be actualized in less than 18 months, right? Probably, but I’d like to promote the idea that in the near future, providing a business case for short-term UC ROI may not be as necessary.
Pleasant goes on to say:
In most cases, we don’t question whether or not we need email and voicemail — they’re basic communication tools that virtually every organization needs so that workers can be efficient and effective. The same should be said for UC.
The point that Pleasant is essentially making is that organizations right now are looking at UC as a novelty and struggling to define its role in the organization, and hence its value from an ROI perspective.
However, UC is more than that. It is a productivity enhancer, a timeframe compressor, and an efficiency streamliner. UC comes with a lot of intangibles that are difficult to quantify directly in an ROI. But, that doesn’t change the fact that organizations that don’t start developing a UC strategy and investing in UC infrastructure will soon find themselves on the outside of next-generation business processes looking in.