How MSPs Should Deal With “ROI Guy”

Calculating the ROI of cloud-based file sharing isn't easy, but is it necessary? In this article, we'll show you how to deal with clients who insist on being able to determine their return on investment.

October 28, 2013

3 Min Read
How MSPs Should Deal With “ROI Guy”

By Michael Brown 1

At some point in your MSP adventures, you’ll eventually encounter “ROI Guy” – a person (male or female) who is obsessed with quantifying the return on a given technology investment. Often times, the absence of this specific ROI will actually prevent them from adopting said technology. They want proof, results and the numbers to back it up – or there’s no deal.

As you know, the ROI of certain technologies isn’t always easy to calculate. It’s not like switching car insurance providers. Cloud-based file sharing falls squarely into this category. After all, if there were a clear-cut, proven ROI on cloud-based file sharing, every business would have one and they would practically sell themselves.

We’re not there yet – don’t worry – but we are getting closer. Businesses in the healthcare industry, for example, could theoretically calculate the cost of non-compliance, data breaches and other violations and measure that against what a cloud-based file sharing solution would cost. Analytics and reporting tools are becoming more sophisticated by the hour, so it’s quite possible that a specific ROI for cloud technology will one day be accessible. But for most companies, the ROI is going to be more on the qualitative side of the equation (and that’s perfectly okay).

Earlier this year, The Open Group conducted a survey of businesses that reached this very same conclusion, but more importantly, they cited some possible reasons why the ROI of the cloud is so difficult to calculate:

In 2011, the association reports, 55 percent of those surveyed felt that cloud return on investment (ROI) would be easy to evaluate and justify, although only 35 percent had mechanisms in place to do it. In the latest survey conducted at the end of 2012, the proportion that thought it would be easy had gone down to 44 percent, and only 20 percent had mechanisms in place.

Perhaps it’s a result of cloud becoming so tightly interwoven with the business that the potential results may be more far-reaching than a single process or two. Or, perhaps, cloud adoption and usage is expanding deeper into business operations at a faster pace than can be measured. In fact, the survey also finds that the types of metrics being employed are expanding beyond simple cost reductions. While cost continues to be the primary cloud ROI metric, there has been a surge in adoption of quality of delivered results and speed of operation, and utilization of resources as metrics as well.

So while you probably won’t be able to fully appease ROI Guy when it comes to cloud-based file sharing, you can highlight some of the advantages – both qualitative and quantitative – including:

  • Low cost of implementation/training

  • Low cost of data storage

  • Low cost of software

  • Increased security

  • Compliance

  • Increased visibility and reporting

  • Increased controls (administration)

  • Ease-of use

How do you deal with ROI Guy when it comes to cloud-based file sharing? Be sure to let us know.


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