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Nothing gets people's attention like money, except more money. Let's talk ROI.

by Sarah Cenedella

June 21, 2010

Sarah Cenedella, SAPinsider

It's only Day 1 at the SAP BusinessObjects Seminar in Chicago, but the room is buzzing. The attendees just learned that there are tools that can calculate the ROI of their SAP BusinessObjects implementation or integration initiative.

Who knew that the shortest session of the day, only 30 minutes long, would cause eyes to get wide and pencils to scratch furiously? (If you'd asked me, I would have picked either the earlier session on mapping the tools, or the upcoming session on the SAP BI roadmap.) But it is this short, 18-slide presentation on calculating the ROI of your BI project that is generating all the excitement. Why? Not just because projecting ROI is a must-have for any solid business case, especially in trying times, but also because figuring it out is hard to do. In fact, it may be the most important, and most difficult, task in any project.

The focus of this session, given by Chris Dinkel from Business & Decision, is on the quantitative and qualitative benefits that go into the ROI of a BI project and the initial and recurring costs that go into the ROI calculation. Also covered, of course, is education on how to actually calculate the ROI (insert some long equation that looks too much like math for my verbal brain). This must have been overwhelming for more than just me, because you can see the entire room start to stress out. Calculating ROI is hard; messing it up and delivering the wrong information to decision makers is even harder.

Lucky for all, the next slide goes right into two ROI calculators that are available online - one free from Nucleus Research, and one from TWDI that is only $700. That's a small price to pay to get this important calculation right, if you ask me. So it's no wonder that at the mention of these tools, and then throughout the demos of them, the stress in the room evaporated and in it's place was excitement, and an air of confidence that proving the return on these SAP BusinessObjects implementations is an achievable task.

So why did this surprise me, and deem blog-worthy? Perhaps because I take for granted that these tools are readily available and folks know about them. Did you? How are you calculaing the ROI of your BI projects?

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