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How to Weigh IT Investment Decisions

Dan Swanson | February 3, 2009

Corporate management has always been told to invest wisely in IT. The board has always been told to ensure management invests wisely in IT. It’s a truism everyone states all the time.

Too frequently, however, IT investment decisions by management and the board have relied on, and even deferred to, managers of the IT function. That results in what I call the Black Hole approach to IT investment: Throw enough money into technology, and we’ll get something of value in the end.

Corporations can, and must, do better than that. IT is now central to every core business process, and core business processes are central to sound governance. Can more formal, cohesive decisions about IT investment therefore improve your corporate governance? I think so—but those decisions must be directed by the business managers, not the technology managers. The board and executive management must also constantly monitor the company’s significant...

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