Feeds

Bean counters love the fluffy side of IT

Soft benefits, not cold hard cash

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Even accountants have learned that an IT project cannot be thought of purely in terms of its impact on the bottom line, according to research.

Instead, before the costs are even considered, 63 per cent of accountants prefer to weigh the risk to the business of a new system failing against the risk to the business of not upgrading at all.

Surprisingly, the financial controllers also said they were looking for soft benefits from IT projects, such as better integration, better communications and better planning of operations in the business. Cost savings are mostly a secondary if not tertiary consideration.

In partnership with the Institute of Chartered Accountants (of England and Wales), Microsoft asked 400 "finance professionals" in medium-sized companies about their company's IT strategy and purchasing decisions.

The survey also revealed that the vast majority of companies have no formal IT strategy, less than half have a formal approach to calculating return-on-investemnt, the rest rely on gut feel, and a scary 12 per cent carry out no evaluation of IT purchases at all.

The scary comes from Paul Druckman, president of the ICA.

"As companies are setting out with relatively soft goals in mind - that is, the want to improve the overall operation of the company, or improve internal communication, rather than save 20 per cent on the bottom line - it is consistent that the evaluation of the success of a project is also done in a fairly soft way," he said

"But it is hard to defend the 12 per cent who make no effort at all to measure things. That 12 per cent frightens me."

The research was commissioned because Microsoft thinks that the small businesses in the SME sector are getting an unfair proportion of all the attention.

The 85,000 or so medium-sized companies in the UK, those with between 50 and 500 people, account for 30 per cent of the UK's GDP, according to Microsoft's head of SME and Partners in the UK, Natalie Ayers. They also grow faster than smaller companies. But, Ayres concludes, there has been very little research into what it is exactly that makes them tick.

Other highlights of the research are that medium-sized companies spend between two and three per cent of turnover on ROI; the majority of those with a strategy are planning two years ahead; and 100 per cent of those surveyed had got (at the very least) access to the web, to email, and the company has a web site.

"There was a much more long term view [about ROI from IT spend] than we might have expected," said Druckman. "I think this is a positive thing, and we should encourage it." ®

Related stories

Brit workers excel at skiving
IDC sees slow year for IT in Europe
Gov.uk backs open source drive

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.