Evaluating the ROI for deploying Windows 8 – Part 1

Evaluating the ROI for deploying Windows 8 – Part 1

Windows 8 is coming next year and businesses need to start thinking about evaluating the Return On Investment (ROI) that they will get for moving to this new Operating System.

This is the first in a series of articles that will discuss evaluating ROI for Windows 8.

Important Caveat: This is being written before the BUILD conference so this is bound to be incomplete. Until we have an idea of all the features that Windows 8 will have, it’s hard to do a comprehensive ROI estimate.

The purpose of these articles however is to get people and businesses thinking about how to evaluate the value of an Operating System to a business.

OK, so let’s discuss ROI in the context of Operating Systems.

I promise I’ll make it simple. πŸ™‚

An Operating System in the simplest sense allows a company to conduct business on a daily basis. It’s used to store files, send email, create records, edit presentations, make spreadsheets and on and on. Arguably, companies are dependent on computers and need a strong OS to function efficiently.

When a company decides to move from their current Operating System to a new one, there are a bunch of factors that need to be considered. For a medium to large company, this is not a trivial undertaking.

Here are some of the factors that need to be considered:

Tech Costs

  • PC costs (hardware)
  • Server Costs (hardware)
  • Tablet costs (this is new)
  • Security Solutions (VPN)
  • Networking Solutions (BranchCache etc)
  • OS software licenses (Client and Server)
  • Costs of Maintenance

Non Tech Costs

  • Consulting costs
  • Length of deployment
  • Travel and Board for employees and contractors
  • Staffing Costs (extra IT employees and business analysts etc)
  • Opportunity Cost – (revenue lost to system implementation and downtime)
  • Training costs

All the above factors can usually be quantified and add up to a big number and a timeline.

Senior executives (usually led by a Chief Technology Officer – a CTO) have to make a decision about whether to greenlight a deployment like that.

While the cost and timeline will be huge factors, a plethora of other factors will come into play as well.

  • Time of Year (is there a crucial business event coming up – like a year end close.)
  • Relationships at the Exec level
  • Politics
  • Management Consulting Relationships
  • End user feedback
  • Corporate culture

These all influence the decision to move forward or not but ultimately, a company will usually plan for an Operating System upgrade for 2 reasons.

  1. It’s slowing down or impacting business critical company functions and departments
  2. Support costs for the Operating System (Tech support, bugs, fixes) are unacceptably high

It all comes down to money. Businesses focus on the money.

In my next post, we’ll talk a little bit about how this process would work specifically in relation to Windows 8.