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Despite conflicting views regarding the current performance of the global economy, the recent difficult times that businesses across the globe have faced have caused a number of permanent changes within the IT sector. Chief amongst these is a much greater focus on Return on Investment (ROI) and the benefits that technology will deliver. A disillusionment with ‘IT for IT’s sake’ has developed in many quarters. This was most significantly marked by the publication of “Does IT Matter?” by Nicholas Carr, author of the infamous Harvard Business Review article in 2003.



An even more onerous task, that of deriving ROSI or return on sunk investment from assets, is now being put upon those involved in IT too. Businesses want to use existing information and applications to build and develop new systems that will address new business initiatives and enable the organisation to grow, without ripping out the technology already in place.

So, despite the new rise in IT spending, ROI and ROSI, whether through cost savings or productivity increases, will continue to be the benchmark that sets vendors of technology products and services apart. This means that while organisations will still want to implement and work with companies that provide innovative solutions, they now also need to ensure that the systems they implement can demonstrate and provide clear business advantages that take into consideration previous investments.

Of course if sounds obvious, but one of the key ways for organisations to achieve Return on Sunk Investment is to work with companies and technologies that focus on maximising the technology that exists within the business – i.e., that has already been implemented and is already running at the heart of the organisation.

Typically, a business will already have a number of disparate and incumbent databases and information sources in place – for example an ERP system, a CRM solution, and an HR and payroll function. However the problem is that they are disparate – the data and information contained within them is not integrated and can’t be used to generate knowledge on the organisation as a whole, thus enabling it to improve its processes, productivity and customer services for example, and ultimately evolve and grow.

This is where integration technologies fit in. In essence, they can help businesses unify and integrate back-end data stores to turn disparate data into knowledge. They enable businesses to synch up and harmonise their sunk investments in IT systems to make the information on all of them more accessible and meaningful to the relevant people, without the need for ‘rip and replace’. Literally ripping out old technology to replace it with new can be extremely costly and risky, therefore seriously unpopular with shareholders and the Board.

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