Managing IT Change—Return on Investment (ROI) as a Motivational Tool

Date01 May 2017
Published date01 May 2017
© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Published online in Wiley Online Library (
DOI 10.1002/jcaf.22266
Managing IT Change—Return on
Investment (ROI) as a Motivational
Art Worster, Thomas R. Weirich, and Frank Andera
The concept of
evaluating proposed
capital investments to
establish the antici-
pated financial ben-
efits is certainly noth-
ing new. The financial
analysis of expected
benefits from invest-
ments, whether it
is a new plant, new
product develop-
ment, or many others
is well understood
and widely employed.
There are a variety
of models used to
identify and quantify
anticipated improve-
ments, adjusted for
inflation, as well as
other factors. The
basic concept of ROI
calculations, however,
can also be used
to promote accep-
tance of the overall
program and where
benefits may be
achieved. This article
will present a case
for the use of ROI
concepts to design
and drive the change
management com-
ponent of enterprise
resource planning
(ERP) implementa-
tion programs. Large
change initiatives
require motivating
workers and groups
to accept and align
themselves with cor-
porate goals. This
must also include
how proposed
changes will accom-
plish those goals.
Previous articles in this series have provided examples
for management accountants to understand integrated
business processes and the role that they play. In a
world where enterprise resource planning (ERP) appli-
cations define the operation of integrated business
functions, understanding and interpreting the financial
results becomes a more operational role. In this article,
the authors extend this view to the implementation pro-
gram itself, whether initial implementation or continuing
additions. While ROI calculations are widely understood
for evaluating and managing capital investments, the
role they play in change management is often underval-
ued. While identifying and accurately measuring these
can be challenging, not developing them handicaps
program teams’ ability to engage employees to provide
critical support. This article discusses revenue and cost
functions that are normally affected by the conver-
sion to integrated business processes. Along with this
analysis, how these areas are defined, estimated, and
tracked becomes more important to project success.
Most of the changes discussed in previous articles are
implemented to improve efficiency and effectiveness
of business processes. Taking the time to establish
not only the metric itself, but also the measurement
approach can be a key role that management accoun-
tants play both for executive leadership and for change
management within the implementation program.
© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Editorial Review
This is the tenth installment in a series of articles that have appeared and will appear in the coming issues of JCAF. Art
Worster and his associates, Thomas R. Weirich and Frank Andera, address matters that arise during and after the imple-
mentation of integrated IT applications in a business.

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