Naming the best and the worst technologies

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on March 18, 2003

E-learning solutions and e-business integration platforms provided the best returns on investment during 2002, according to the 'ROI Leaders and Laggards' study published in the US by Nucleus Research. At the same time, e-commerce, business-to-business market-places, monolithic CRM systems, and standalone content management solutions provided the least ROI.

The study's findings are based on the thousands of ROI studies that Nucleus has recently performed on behalf of Global 2000 companies. Among the ROI leaders, Nucleus found the following:

  • E-business integration platforms: These platforms, which include Microsoft BizTalk Server and BEA WebLogic Integration, allow companies to get more out of their existing IT infrastructures both through internal and B2B integration. Nucleus' studies show that they reduce costs, increase performance and, ultimately, generate new revenue streams that translate into increased corporate earnings.
  • E-learning solutions: The study shows that firms implementing these solutions have quickly recognised first-tier benefits, including reduced costs for travel, human resources overhead, regulatory compliance, and customer support costs. They eventually receive second-tier benefits, such as increased employee performance, that directly impacts profitability. Nucleus found that most companies could gain significant returns from even modest investments in e-learning technology.
  • E-commerce and business-to-business: Companies that have invested in marketplaces to attract new partners appear to have found limited returns, and may have been better off investing in specific integration strategies with key partners, according to Nucleus.
  • Monolithic CRM: Nucleus suggests that those investing in large CRM projects are less likely to achieve a positive ROI because consulting and software costs can easily outweigh returns, and a long deployment process means a slower pay-back. Those investing in rapidly deployable CRM solutions with a smaller footprint (and extending them over time) are likely to be better off, says the study.
  • Standalone content management: The growth of content management functionality in many web server and portal products, and the higher costs associated with deploying and integrating a standalone content management solution, can make these systems a poor investment for most organisations. Companies achieving high returns from content management are generally doing so as part of a broader strategy involving tight integration.

Limited C-level input
According to Nucleus, information officers and finance officers (CIOs and CFOs) are now paying more attention to the role of technology in their companies' bottom lines. A recent poll of information technology decision makers from Ernst & Young showed that, while financial justification of IT projects is important, only 40% are actively researching these ROI figures, while most lack the time or expertise to conduct their own ROI analysis.

Many are sceptical of simplistic and 'loaded' ROI calculators sponsored by the vendors themselves, or from analyst firms that provide ROI frameworks on behalf of the technology vendors.

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