We speak of the cost-benefit analysis to do before buying a system as if it really exists. It’s not as real as we pretend it is.
A recent customer wanted to get some general cost-benefit numbers rather than doing an actual cost-benefit analysis. They just wanted a general idea what types of cost savings were possible and also what areas were most likely to benefit.
There are multitudes of articles that discuss what to look for when doing a cost-benefit analysis. There are almost none that give numbers that customers or software vendors generate. Try looking for a presentation that gives some general numbers and you’ll struggle to find them.
In addition, when you do find them, it’s sometimes difficult to know which ones might apply to your situation and how closely.
Most customers don’t do a cost-benefit analysis before buying a system. In fact, I would claim that many systems aren’t meant to save money but for other purposes (that do actually sometimes save money), but more for the ability to store and find an increasing amount of data, for example.
For those who do a cost-benefit analysis, they’re not that interested in sharing their numbers. That was their effort they put forward and they don’t typically feel like sharing it. In addition, the numbers are not often flattering.
One project claimed their ROI (Return on Investment) did end up being positive. That means that, over the time they owned that system, they did not end up losing money on it, considering what they put into it. That was over fifteen years, apparently.
If you do find numbers, especially if you’re at a conference watching a presentation, beware of numbers that sound great. Most of the time, initial numbers aren’t actually very good but those people measuring leave out a lot of the ongoing costs. Sometimes, it’s because they don’t know how to measure them. However, I’ve been in presentations where I was 100% certain that the vendor presenter was trying too hard to sell their system or the customer presenter was trying too hard to get someone to offer them some type of directorship position after their great “success.”