Prove It!


By Eileen Feretic

If you believe something is true but you can't prove it, does it count?

That's the dilemma raised by ISACA's Value of IT Investments survey of 1,217 IT professionals in nine countries (www.isaca.org/valit). Half of the survey respondents believe they are realizing between 50 percent and 74 percent of expected value from their IT investments, according to ISACA, an association of 86,000 IT professionals . That's the good news.

Unfortunately--here's the bad news--only half of them said they measure the value "to some extent," and 10 percent of them don't measure the value at all.

In these difficult economic times, how can CIOs go to their CEOs and CFOs and ask for money for IT projects when they can't quantify the value they get from existing technology investments?

According to John Thorp, chair of ISACA's Val IT development team, "The research also suggests that most decisions related to value from IT are subjective and, all too often, are based on perception and emotion rather than on facts."

Perception and emotion? I simply can't imagine justifying a technology investment to top management based on what is essentially gut feel. And I can't imagine CEOs and CFOs approving investments without solid facts.

While it's true that budgets and staff are a lot leaner than they used to be, that's no excuse for not doing your homework. If the IT organization--and its leaders--are going to get the respect they deserve from the business side of the house, IT executives are going to have to run their operations as businesses and offer up ROI facts, not feelings.

Do I believe that technology brings value to the enterprise? Absolutely! Do I think most CIOs are doing a top-notch job of proving that value? Sadly, I have to say "no."