Technology is critical for business success, unfortunately many technology investments fall under "cost center" because it's often difficult to translate indirect profit to bottom-line figures. Such investments are often undervalued and underfunded by different departments within an organization and this may have adverse affects on the success of a company. Nobody will argue against the merits that technology brings, but translating the profit gain against the investment spend remains a challenge. In many cases technology falls under a "if it isn't broke, don't fix it" mentality. This makes it difficult to enable new business processes that have a dependency on technology and this becomes an even greater challenge with the consumerization of IT in which not only employees, but more importantly customers will drive the adoption of technologies in a viral fashion.
At Cisco we have three metrics that we gauge success of technology investments against. These are macro-level metrics, you can apply these same macro-level metrics to your business and develope several micro-level metrics for each. At a macro-level technology investments are based against the following metrics: Growth, Experience and Productivity. Let's talk about each of these in some detail:
The one thing I haven't gone into detail on is risk. Managing risk must be an underlying principle for any technology investment. Aside from evaluating the company viability, you'll want to evaluate the technology and see how it fits into your existing and planned architecture. You must also look into the product architecture and make sure the product will scale, support virtualization, and exposes functionality for other applications to use especially for mashups. Make sure the product is standards-based over proprietary to reduce ongoing maintenance costs and integration efforts. Discover what existing technologies you have in your enterprise, you may be surprised to learn many of the capabilities you're evaluating for purchase have already been deployed.
Let me know your thoughts on the business of technology and how you demonstrate value to your company with the investments you're making.
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