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Benefits Management: Delivering Value from IS & IT Investments by Elizabeth Daniel, John L. Ward

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Chapter 1. The Challenge of IS/IT Investments

Managers considering the current role and value of IT within their organizations can be forgiven for feeling they are at a crossroads and being given very little help with which direction they should go, either from their colleagues or from outside commentators and experts.

The demand from colleagues within the organization for new systems, improvements to existing systems and increased support seems to grow continuously. Such demands will be supported by descriptions of the expected improvements, either claiming cost savings from improved efficiencies or increased revenue generation from the creation of new services or capabilities. Many of these arguments will be well founded. However, these demands must be set against the reality that IT budgets are finite and in many cases these budgets are being reduced. Although for many organizations budgets are linked to the prevailing trading climate, this also suggests that senior managers are not as convinced of the positive outcomes from IT spending as those further down the organization. This may also be a reaction to the overblown expectations that accompanied the dot.com boom of the late 1990s, when many claims were made for how internet-based initiatives would change organizations and even create a 'new economy'.

Equally, commentators appear to have conflicting advice on the subject. Articles in the press and respected management journals constantly describe how organizations have improved ...

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