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Last September, in an article titled “CFOs Taking the Heat,” we examined how CFOs and corporate treasurers can understand whether their finance function needs to undertake a major infrastructure transformation. Deciding to move forward is just the first step in getting such a project under way. Once a finance team is contemplating a transformation initiative, it faces the daunting task of justifying the expenditure. Various metrics are available, including net present value (NPV), payback, and internal rate of return (IRR), but one of the best tools is an analysis of the project’s return on investment (ROI).

In the context of transformation projects, ROI is a cash flow metric that allows senior executives to make an informed decision about whether to proceed. It also provides a numerical look at various scenarios to help executives decide on the optimum approach. Creating a solid ROI analysis for a project is extremely hard to do well, but it’s well worth the effort, for both technology-focused and non-technology initiatives.

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