Calculating ROI – Helping IT Make Informed Decisions

We created a server refresh ROI estimator tool to help IT managers make sense of the significant OpEx savings they can achieve by making targeted investments in new server hardware. In my previous blog when we introduced the ROI tool back in April 2009, I talked about the capabilities of the estimator and the benefits of server refresh.  In the first 3 months, we have had nearly 4,000 users of the ROI estimator and of those users almost 800 users have printed reports to share with others in their organizations. The feedback we have received from users has been very encouraging.

CIO for major US hospital: “This would help my IT staff justify the financial value of the technology investment they are proposing. This has been a barrier to freeing up capital internally”

IT Manager for major US bank: “I used to have regular funding for technology refresh projects. It was a given for my budget.  However, with the increased constraints on capital, I now have to justify this type of spending”

Technology Sales Consultant: “This tool helped me work better with my customer to gain a deeper understanding of their server environment and allowed us to jointly identify high ROI investments to improve their infrastructure”

I have also heard many constructive suggestions for improvement.  As a result, we have continued to evolve the tool based on feedback from users.

Tool Training – How to Use: We heard that the benefits of using the Savings Refresh Estimator spanned many functional roles, making us realize that the use models for this type of tool and what users were looking for would vary dramatically from person to person.  This has challenged us to look at ways to streamline the user interface (something we continue to work on) for different users and analyses.  In the interim, we are in the process of developing a video training guide to help users understand how to use the tool to get maximum benefit.  We have a pdf training guide today that can help you get started now.

PowerPoint Output: What would we do without powerpiont? J We received feedback on the desire to make the output of this tool more sharable inside IT organizations and with business partners in a powerpoint format as a way to communicate the opportunity and benefits for server refresh investment.  So, we now have a powerpoint output option in the reports section that breaks down the benefits of server refresh for a variety of audiences from executive staff to facilities to finance.  Everyone inside your business can benefit from server refresh and now you can show them how.

Secure Analysis: We received feedback that many users wanted access off-line either as a way to use in meetings when connectivity was challenged or to protect internal data from exposure online.  We now have the ability for you to run the tool on your laptop to support these use models.

More … More … More Functionality. We heard lots of requests and ideas to expand the level of functionality and analysis capabilities.  We have to balance scope, complexity Keep these requests coming.  The following changes are incorporated into today’s estimator.

Virtualization to Virtualization Refresh Scenario – now included

Virtualization Loading: Can edit and change VM/server new and old

Custom Performance Data – enter you own performance data to better model what you expect to see in your biz

Depreciation Cycle – no longer fixed at 4yrs .. can adjust

Memory Sizing: information added to allow user analysis

Processor Description: allows user to cross reference data to other more familiar terminology.

Accuracy / Approach: We have also heard some feedback challenging us on different ways to look at refresh scenarios, especially as we learn more about how people are looking at and using virtualization and sizing their environments after refresh.  Sizing is a very customer-centric and application specific task that is difficult to model in a one-sized fits all.  We won’t be able to model every sizing situation, but are planning some future enhancements intended to help you self-evaluate.

I want to thank everyone in the community for their input on this tool and helping us to deliver a better product over time.  Keep the ideas coming.  Feel free to respond with comments here.


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