Who is Responsible for Software ROI?
  • 09 Jul 2023
  • 2 Minutes to read
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Who is Responsible for Software ROI?

  • Dark
  • PDF

Article Summary


Purchasing a new software application, especially a company-wide or agency-wide document management solution, is expensive. The cost is not just the software; the implementation and training can be two to three times more.

The IT department is usually responsible for working with the vendor to support and resolve any issues. However, IT is not responsible for checking in with each department, ensuring the software works for them, and discussing improvements and enhancements each department may need.

One agency I work with gets many inquiries from departments about improving processes now that they have had a chance to use the software for a few years. Seeing users reach out and ask questions is great to see. It shows that users care and are empowered to ask questions and look for better ways of performing their day-to-day work.

Another agency I have worked with works similarly from the IT standpoint of initial setup and support. But, one difference I have seen is that few department users ask about the software and if it can be set up differently to help them with their work. They may complain, but when asked for details, they say nothing.

Another company I worked with had some buy-in for their selected solution, but one department didn’t care for the software. I conveyed to my customer that the buy-in has to come from the top and be filtered down. Unfortunately, that never happened, and the one department that spoke the loudest won out. And the company abandoned the solution after a year—a significant loss in money, time, and resources.

Why the differences?

Who is at fault for failed projects or lackluster usage and productivity?

What is IT’s role? What is the department’s role?

Previously, the software purchases would be a one-time fee, and then you would pay an annual 20% for maintenance and support. Now everything is a subscription. Companies/agencies are spending thousands of dollars annually. Does the department okay the payment each year without knowing if the solution works for the company/agency?

Should IT ask for monthly feedback from each department on how the software is helping them?

Should IT hold monthly training to ensure users know how to use the software for maximum productivity?

Should top management ask for reports from each department on how an application works for them?

The only way to rectify this situation is to hold department management accountable for ongoing training and work with IT and vendors to customize and use the software for their needs. Sure, everyone is busy, but the software was purchased to help, not to increase work.

  • Whoever approves of the software purchase needs to stay abreast of the use and improvements that it is bringing, or they need to assign a person or team to do this.

  • At least every quarter, department heads should meet with their users, get feedback, and provide that back to the software purchaser or IT. Someone needs to keep track.

  • Make sure that users are free to provide feedback and are listened to. Sometimes management forgets to ask the users, but remember, they are the ones that do the work day in and day out. They know what is helpful and what is cumbersome and time-consuming.

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