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Business Value ROI Workbook for IT Initiatives

This free world-class Excel tool is a comprehensive business value model (ROI calculator) to support the development of business cases for most types of enterprise-scale information technology-based projects. It provides a robust structure to help organizations assess the business value (costs, benefits, TCO, and ROI) of technology projects/initiatives.

This workbook can be used as a standard corporate business case template for technology-based initiatives. It can also be used by consultants and technology vendors to articulate the business value of their products and solutions.

Note:  A new version of this popular tool is now available at  This significantly enhanced version includes new features, such as currency/language switching, collaboration, change tracking, and scenario analysis.  It also produces customized Word business case reports.  You can use either the Excel-based or the web-based version.  The tool is still free and confidential.  It requires basic registration.

Downloads (now only available at

Version 2.0 Comments

Excel 2007-2013 with Macros

Recommended, but macros may be security-restricted in some organizations; Macros must be enabled

Excel 2007-2013 No Macros

Minor reduction in functionality:  no change tagging

Model Features

  • Supports most types of enterprise-scale technology initiatives. Includes sample cost and benefit data for 18 common initiative types.

Infrastructure/Platform Technology Initiatives Business Technology Initiatives
  • PC Hardware & Operating System Upgrades
  • Server Hardware & Software Upgrades
  • Infrastructure Management / Networking
  • Storage
  • Security
  • Application Development / Architecture
  • Compliance, Governance, & Risk
  • Outsourcing
  • Wireless / Mobile
  • Office Productivity Software
  • Messaging / Collaboration
  • Content Management
  • E-commerce / Internet
  • Business Process Mgmt / Integration
  • Business Intelligence / Data Mgmt
  • Business Applications (Vertical, Line-of-Business)
  • CRM
  • ERP / Supply Chain

  • Comprehensive assessment of initiative costs and benefits
    • Costs: hardware; software; IT labor, training, and services; and user labor and training
    • Benefits: IT labor TCO savings, other direct cost savings, user productivity benefits, revenue growth, and non-financial key performance indicators
  • Calculates annual on-going IT labor TCO (total cost of ownership)
  • Comprehensive financial analysis. Calculates project cash flow, cost-benefit analysis, ROI, NPV, IRR, and payback period
  • Supports rapid (30 minute) or detailed (3+ day) assessments. This model was designed to provide either a rapid assessment (by just entering/selecting basic organizational profile and initiative information) or a very detailed (3+ day) assessment by modifying hundreds of detailed inputs.
  • Protected, yet customizable: Essentially all values can be modified. Many custom cost and benefit items can be added. Formulas and other areas of the model that should not be modified are protected (locked) to maintain intended functionality. HCR can provide additional fee-based customization, if desired.
  • Based on industry-standard calculations and industry-leading methodologies. It is as transparent as possible so the user is able to understand how the costs and benefits are calculated.
  • Provides research-based default values. Default values (labor costs, user type mix, financial information, etc.) are provided based on your industry, geography, organization size and initiative type to enable more rapid assessments. Extensive research was conducted to find highly reputation sources for these. Data/estimate sources are listed. You may overwrite any of the pre-populated defaults.
  • User-friendly. The workbook contains instructions, descriptions, and references. Results are updated real-time and are displayed graphically throughout the model. Includes macros to restore default values. Although the model is user-friendly, we recommend users have at least a moderately-advanced understanding of business value concepts to develop a credible business case.
  • Free download. No registration required. See Terms of Use.

Model Components / Flowchart

Costs (the investment)

All one-time and on-going costs required to implement/deploy, adopt, maintain, and support the solution

Hardware Software IT Labor, Services, & Training End-User Labor & Training
  • PCs (new/upgraded)
  • Servers
  • Mobile devices
  • Storage
  • Networking equipment
  • Client/server applications
  • Client/server operating systems
  • Client access licenses (CALs)
  • Databases
  • Utilities
  • Planning, Evaluation and Project Management
  • Engineering
  • Development
  • Lab Testing
  • Pilot Testing
  • Rollout
  • Performance Tuning
  • Documentation
  • Implementation User Support
  • Consultants
  • External Services
  • Maintenance/ support
  • IT training (formal external, formal internal, self study)
  • Solution planning & testing
  • Downtime (Unable to be productive); e.g. during implementation of the solution
  • Resolution of issues related to the new solution
  • System configuration
  • Data entry
  • End-user training and ramp–up

IT Labor TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)

Annual on-going/recurring labor and services required to support and maintain the "as-is" (current or status quo) and "to-be" (after the solution is deployed) environment

PC Management Services Help Desk (Tech Support) Server & Network Mgmt Services Application Development & Administration
  • PC HW / SW Evaluation
  • PC Image Management
  • User Admin & Provisioning
  • Application Management
  • Software Deployment
  • Security Assessment & Planning
  • Security Patch Management
  • Security Incident Remediation
  • Data Mgmt, Backup & Restore
  • Tools/GPO Management
  • 3rd Level Support
  • Proprietary Applications
  • Standard Desktop Software
  • Operating Systems
  • Hardware (except printers)
  • Data Communications/ Network
  • Password Resets
  • Databases
  • Service Requests
  • Voice Communications
  • Printers
  • Others
  • Network management
  • Hardware management
  • Operating system support
  • Server application mgmt
  • Security
  • Storage management
  • Database Mgmt & Admin
  • Other
  • Application Development
    • Design
    • Development
    • Testing
    • Support
  • Administration & Other
    • Planning
    • Purchasing
    • Finance
    • Training
    • Senior management


Direct and Indirect benefits enabled by the initiative -- the "return" part of ROI

IT Labor/Services TCO Savings Other Direct Cost Savings User Productivity Benefits  Revenue Growth
  • PC Management Services
  • Help Desk (Tech Support)
  • Server & Network Mgmt Services
  • Application Development
  • Administration & Other
  • IT Savings         
    • Software - Clients
    • Software - Servers
    • Hardware
    • IT Services
    • Power/Electricity Usage
  • Business Savings            
    • Travel Expenses
    • Business Services
    • Operating Expenses
  • Individual Computing
    • Document Creation
    • Data & Information Access/Analysis
    • Email, Calendar, Contact, & Task Mgmt
    • LOB Application-Related Activities
  • Collaborative Computing
    • Document Collaboration
    • Workflow (routing)
    • Coordination / Project Mgmt
  • PC Systems Management
    • Support, Self-Help, & Learning
    • Performance
    • Mobility & Remote Connectivity
    • Security & Privacy
    • System UI Navigation
    • Availability & Reliability
  • Improved Sales Effectiveness
  • Improved Marketing Effectiveness
  • Improved Customer Service
  • New/Expanded Channels/Geographies
  • New/Enhanced Products/Services
  • Improved Product Availability (fill rate, up-time)

Sample Project Financial Analysis Report

Non-Financial KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)

Not all benefits can credibly be translated into financial ($) benefit terms. These are sometimes referred to as intangible benefits. The workbook provides a structure to estimate how the initiative may impact non-financial KPIs. There are 4-7 specific metrics/KPIs in each category below:

  • Sales/Marketing Performance
  • Business Management Effectiveness
  • Supply/Operations Performance
  • Technology Effectiveness

Description of Initiative Type Sample Data Included In the Model

NOTE: Sample data should not be used for making investment decisions. Sample data is not meant to represent average/typical project results and is not based on research. It should only be used as a starting place for assessing the business value of your project. Initiative costs and benefits will differ substantially from one organization to another.

Infrastructure/Platform Technology Initiatives

Initiative Type Key Features, Capabilities, Benefits Sample Vendors And Products

PC Hardware & Operating System Upgrades

  • Improved performance, reliability, security, manageability, productivity
  • Notebook, desktop, thin-client
  • Microsoft Windows Vista, Linux, Red Hat, Novell
  • Dell, HP, Apple, Toshiba, Lenovo, Fujitsu, Acer, Sony, Gateway
  • Intel, AMD

Server Hardware & Software Upgrades

  • Virtualization, consolidation, clustering
  • Data center optimization
  • Improved performance, reliability, manageability, security
  • Multi-core, 64-bit, RISC/Itanium, x86
  • Web servers, application servers, DBMS servers, data warehouse servers, infrastructure servers, high performance computing servers
  • Microsoft Windows Server, Novell SUSE, Red hat, Unix, Solaris, IBM AIX, HP–UX
  • IBM, HP, Dell, Sun, Fujitsu, Bull

Infrastructure Management / Networking

  • Asset inventory/management, OS management, configuration management, change management, systems management, software distribution, application packaging
  • Directory services, group policy objects
  • IPV6, LAN, WAN
  • VOIP – voice over Internet protocol
  • Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, MDOP, Active Directory
  • IBM Tivoli, BMC Software, CA Unicenter, HP, LANDesk, Novell ZENworks, Symantec Altiris, Cisco Systems


  • Digital storage of business data and documents
  • Archival, records management, tape backup, SAN, NAS, disk arrays, iSCSI, fibre channel
  • Capacity management, performance analysis, storage provisioning, quota management, event management
  • EMC, HP, IBM, Sun, Hitachi, EDS, Network Appliance
  • IBM DB2, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, SAP


  • Security planning, assessment, incident/breach management
  • Identity and access management, encryption, smartcards, authentication, authorization, patch management
  • Firewalls, antivirus, anti-malware, anti-spyware, network access control, information and data rights management
  • McAfee, Symantec, CA, Trend Micro
  • Cisco Systems, NetIQ
  • VeriSign, IBM, Unisys

Application Development / Architecture

  • Improved software quality, integration, usability
  • Custom developed software
  • Rapid application development
  • Middleware, application server
  • Web services, Service-Oriented Architecture, SaaS (software as a service)
  • Enterprise architecture (EA)
  • Microsoft .NET, Visual Studio
  • IBM WebSphere, Rational
  • Sun Microsystems Java
  • Java/J2EE/EE, Ruby on Rails, PHP, Python, Perl
  • Oracle Fusion Middleware, Application Server
  • BEA Systems WebLogic, JBoss (Red Hat), SAP NetWeaver

Compliance, Governance, Risk

  • Methods and software to ease compliance with regulations such as HIPPA, Sarbanes-Oxley, Basel II
  • ITIL, COBIT, Six Sigma, CMM, ISO 17799/9000, PMBOK
  • Maturity models (Microsoft's Infrastructure Optimization Maturity Model)
  • Portfolio management, IT-business alignment, balanced scorecard, service level management, risk management
  • Business continuity – disaster planning / recovery
  • IT governance, policies, internal audit, monitoring
  • BearingPoint, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, IBM, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers


  • Outsource IT and business processes, applications, infrastructure, or initiatives to reduce costs and improve results
  • Infrastructure management: helpdesk, on-site support, desktop management, data center services
  • BPO – business process outsourcing
  • Offshore services
  • Application outsourcing, web hosting
  • Accenture, Capgemini, Cognizant, CSC, EDS, IBM, HP, Siemens, CompuCom, Infosys, Keane, Perot Systems, Satyam, TCS, Wipro, Getronics, Unisys
  • AT&T, IBM, MCI-Digex, Qwest, Rackspace, Verio


  • Wireless e-mail, mobile access to line-of-business applications, unified communications,
  • VPN, mobile remote access, telecommuting
  • Handheld devices, smartphone, PDAs
  • Wireless LAN/WAN, 802.11n, WiMAX, CDMA, UMTS, GPRS, EDGE
  • Microsoft Windows Mobile, Palm, Symbian
  • RIM BlackBerry, Nokia, Apple iPhone, Sharp, Motorola/Symbol, Fujitsu,
  • 3Com, Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks, Siemens
  • Equant, AT&T, MCI, BT, Sprint, Verizon

Business Technology Initiatives

Initiative Type Key Features, Capabilities, Benefits Sample Vendors And Products

Office Productivity Software

  • Word processing, spreadsheets, personal databases, presentation graphics software, personal information management, note-taking, task and project management, document creation and publishing
  • Microsoft Office 2007
  • Sun StarOffice
  • Google Apps

Messaging / Collaboration

  • E-mail, calendaring/scheduling, task management, unified communications
  • Real-time collaboration, presence, instant messaging, web conferencing
  • Social computing, blogs, wikis
  • Team workspaces, project management, discussion threads, document workflow
  • Microsoft SharePoint, Exchange, Live Meeting
  • IBM Domino / Lotus Notes
  • Oracle Collaboration Suite
  • Sun Java Enterprise System
  • Novell GroupWise
  • WebEx Communications

Content Management

  • Document management, web content management, document imaging, records management, digital asset management
  • Knowledge management, information management
  • Intranets, Extranets, Portals
  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • EMC Documentum, FileNet, Hummingbird, IBM Content Management, Interwoven, Mobius Management Systems, Open Text, Oracle Content Services, Stellent, and Vignette

E-commerce / Internet

  • Web sites for external business information dissemination, marketing, sales transactions, etc.
  • Web storefronts, shopping cart management, taxation, personalization, transaction management, settlement and product visualization
  • B2B, B2C, AJAX, mashups
  • Microsoft IIS, Commerce Server
  • ATG, Escalate Retail, Comergent, Oracle, SAP

Business Process Mgmt / Integration

  • Process modeling, monitoring and management
  • Workflow, business rules, automation, electronic forms
  • BAM (business activity monitoring)
  • EAI (enterprise application integration)
  • Microsoft BizTalk Server, Sharepoint Server
  • Captaris Workflow, EMC Documentum, Global 360, IBM FileNet, Open Text
  • Pegasystems, Oracle, SAP, TIBCO, webMethods, BEA Systems, SeeBeyond, GXS, Sterling Commerce

Business Intelligence / Data Mgmt

  • Database management systems (DBMS), data warehousing, data marts, online transaction processing (OLTP)
  • Master data management, data quality, metadata
  • Financial planning, corporate performance management, reporting, analytics, dashboards, scorecards, enterprise search, ETL, OLAP, query
  • Microsoft SQL Server, PerformancePoint Server
  • Teradata, IBM, Oracle, MySQL, Ingres, PostgreSQL, Sybase
  • Oracle Hyperion, Business Objects, Informatica, Cognos, Information Builders, MicroStrategy, SAS

Business Applications (Vertical, LOB)

  • Wide variety of specialized software that helps organizations streamline business processes and improve results (enhance efficiency and effectiveness)
  • Numerous products/vendors for every business function and industry


  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Sales force automation, marketing campaign management, customer information management, order entry, customer service management, customer analytics, product configurators
  • Hosted CRM
  • Oracle Siebel, PeopleSoft
  • Onyx, Sage, mySAP CRM,, Amdocs
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM

ERP / Supply Chain

  • Enterprise resource planning:  supply chain management, operations/production management, inventory management, planning/scheduling, finance/accounting, human resource management, product management, warehouse management, logistics, purchasing, order entry, etc.
  • SAP
  • Oracle Fusion (E-Business Suite, J.D. Edwards, PeopleSoft)
  • Lawson, Intentia, Infor, Sage, Ariba,
  • Microsoft Dynamics

Terms of Use / Use Rights / End-User License Agreement (EULA)

By using the software/document, you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use the software.

  • You may use, copy, redistribute, display, print, and reproduce this software/document
  • You may NOT sell, rent, lease, or lend this software/document or portions/derivations of it
  • You may NOT create derivative works from this software/document
  • You may NOT "reverse-engineer" the software/document
  • You may only modify portions of the software/document designated as "Input" cells (light yellow cells with double-outline and blue text).
  • You must maintain all copyright and other notices contained in this software/document.
  • You may incorporate only static (e.g. values, graphics) portions of this software/document within other documents (e.g. a business case report) as long as the dynamic (e.g. equations, macros) functionality of the workbook is not also incorporated or duplicated.


This tool is intended to help guide organizations in better understanding approximate/potential costs and benefits. Due to limitations of simulation tools, actual results may differ significantly than results estimated in this tool. Investment decisions should not be based on the results of this model alone -- it is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

This information is provided to you as a tool "as is" with the understanding that there are no representations or warranties of any kind either express or implied.

In no event shall HCR or suppliers be liable for any damages, including those arising as a result of HCR or supplier negligence, whether those damages are direct, consequential, incidental, or special, flowing from your use of or inability to use the tool, or information provided herewith, or results of the tool's use, even if HCR or suppliers has been advised of the possibility of such damages.

Model Support

HCR does not provide free support for free downloads. However, we do welcome any comments, suggestions, and feedback.

HCR can provide fee-based services, including telephonic support, workbook customizations, and comprehensive consulting engagements to assist with business case development and validation.

Model Use Instructions

1. Read the "Terms of Use" and "Disclaimer".

2. Before making any changes to the workbook, save the workbook under a different name. This will preserve the original default values and formulas so you may return to them at a later time. Clicking the blue "Restore Defaults" icons will return inputs to their original values (for versions that contain macros).

3. Navigate the workbook using the worksheet tabs at the bottom. Start with the "Profile" tab. This worksheet contains the most important cost and benefit drivers. You will also see a summary view of the costs and benefits of the scenario modeled. Enter/edit data in the "input" (light yellow) cells. Edit (overwrite) the default values to customize results for your particular organization/initiative.

4. Review the "ROI" worksheet to pre-view the costs and benefits.

5. Review the detailed default metrics and calculations in the "Costs" (red tab) and Benefit (green tabs) worksheets. Although not required, we recommend completing the "Costs" worksheet first to more clearly define the initiative. Not all benefit worksheets are appropriate for all initiative types (for example, some infrastructure initiatives may not have any revenue impacts).

6. The "Financial Analysis" report (or any other worksheet) can be printed or saved as PDF/XPS. Portions of the model may be incorporated (e.g. "Paste Special As Picture") into a more comprehensive business case-type report.

7. Additional instructions are provided in the model

8. If fee-based consultative guidance and/or customizations are desired, contact HCR.