Why Calculating ROI Helps Businesses Make Informed Investment Decisions

Small business leaders know they must consistently allocate resources toward enhancing technology to boost employee productivity and build better communication. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this trend, pushing many businesses into quick digital transformation to remain competitive. While technology can potentially elevate enterprises, the critical question remains — what is the real return on investment?

Not all tech investments translate directly into dollar value returns. However, calculating ROI is vital for ensuring these investments yield positive impacts.

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What Is ROI?

Return on investment is an equation used to measure the benefit a company gains from an investment compared to what it spent. In simple terms, if a small business spends money on technology, the ROI helps determine how much profit it brings relative to its price. When evaluating technology investments, it is essential to see the upfront cost and long-term financial benefits.

A positive ROI indicates the investment is worthwhile, generating more money than it costs. On the other hand, a negative ROI shows the purchase may not be the best decision. For small businesses, every penny counts. Calculating ROI ensures they make informed decisions and understand their technology investments’ true profitability. 

The Benefits of Calculating ROI

Calculating ROI for technology investments is critical for staying up to date and competitive in the marketplace. One of the most direct advantages of using ROI is the potential for saving money. When organisations assess the profitability of a technology investment before committing, they can avoid expensive missteps. Over time, these savings accumulate and lead to more financial advantages.

Calculating your ROI also enables better decision-making. Understanding the returns you may gain from your investments allows you to prioritise the ones that offer the highest value. This ensures you allocate your resources efficiently, guiding your company toward the most rewarding technologies.

Furthermore, ROI is critical for long-term business planning. Knowing the expected return from technology investments helps project future finances more accurately. With this clarity, you can plan for expansion, hiring and other important decisions.

Consider ROI a decision-making tool. Because technology investments are complex, you ensure your efforts lead to meaningful growth and long-term stability with ROI calculations.

How Is ROI Calculated for Technology Investments?

To determine the ROI of your technology investments, you must follow the formula — ROI = (Net Profit/Total Investment) * 100. First, identify the total cost of the technology investment. This includes the upfront fees — such as purchasing hardware or software — and ongoing costs like maintenance, training and upgrades.

Next, businesses must calculate the net profit obtained from this investment. This involves determining the additional revenue generated or savings accrued from the technology. Then, you would subtract the total investment cost from this amount.

Consider a small business that spends £10,000 on new customer management software. Due to increased efficiency and improved sales strategies from the software, they gained an additional £20,000 in revenue over a year. To get the net profit, take the investment cost from the added earnings and you get £10,000.

Then, calculate the ROI using this formula — ROI = (10,000/10,000) * 100 = 100%.

This means the business has made a return equal to the original investment, turning out to be a solid outcome.

Evaluating the Costs of Technology Investments

A key step in assessing the potential ROI of a technology investment is accurately evaluating its associated costs. Acquiring technology obviously includes the initial price. However, it also involves other expenses, including:

  • Hardware: Physical devices like computers and servers
  • Software: Programs or applications that help businesses operate more efficiently
  • Implementation: Costs tied to setting up and integrating the new systems
  • Training: Expenses related to teaching employees how to use the latest technology
  • Ongoing maintenance: Regular updates, support and potential repairs

Gaining an entire view of the costs allows enterprises to understand where to invest to get the most value. To budget accurately:

  • Research thoroughly: Understand all potential costs before deciding.
  • Seek expert advice: Consult with IT professionals for accurate cost assessments.
  • Plan for contingencies: Always set aside a portion of the budget for unexpected expenses.

Thoroughly estimating and budgeting your tech investments will allow you to optimise your spending, ensuring maximum benefit.

Identifying the Potential Benefits of Technology Investments

Recognising and quantifying the potential benefits of technology investments is as crucial as understanding the costs. The true value of a technology is best understood by its advantages over time. The potential benefits for small businesses include:

Efficiency gains

Automates repetitive tasks, speeds up processes and frees up employees for other essential duties

Enhanced data analysis

Provides insights into customer behaviour, leading to better marketing and sales strategies

Improved customer experience

Streamlines customer interactions, making transactions smoother and more personalised


The right technological tools help businesses expand their operations more seamlessly

Assessing these potential benefits ensures companies grasp the tangible value the technology brings. For example, suppose a small retailer invests in an advanced POS (Point of Sale) system. The system speeds up checkout times, capturing customer buying habits and offering loyalty rewards.

Quantifying these benefits may allow the retailer to discover the new system boosts monthly sales by 15% and improves customer retention by ten percent. Knowing this, they can measure the system’s long-term value against its costs, driving informed investment decisions.

Consider the Timeframes for ROI

Factoring in the timeframes for ROI is integral to understanding the value of technology investments. The duration it takes to recoup from an investment is known as the “payback period.” This offers insights into the investment’s efficiency. A shorter payback period suggests quicker returns, while a longer one may indicate more gradual benefits.

With technology, some tools yield quick results, while others pay off over time. For instance, advertising software may boost sales within weeks, whereas a new infrastructure system may show its value over the years. Balancing short-term and long-term ROI goals is key. While quick returns can be appealing, some of the most transformative technologies require patience and long-term vision.

When evaluating timeframes for technology investments, align them with your business objectives. If your goal is rapid expansion, prioritise technologies with shorter payback periods. However, consider tools that promise sustained, long-term advantages for foundational growth.

Assess the Risks and Potential Returns

Every investment — including technology — comes with inherent risks. For small businesses, understanding these risks is crucial to making informed decisions. Risk assessments involve evaluating the likelihood of potential challenges and the impact they may have.

In addition to understanding risks, it is equally important to comprehend the potential returns. The rewards could include tangible benefits like increased sales or intangible ones like improved brand reputation.

Conducting thorough risk assessments and weighing them against expected returns ensures organisations know the challenges and are better prepared. That way, you set more realistic expectations.

Calculating ROI for Better Tech Investment Decisions

Calculating ROI is crucial for making better investment decisions for technology. By calculating ROI, enterprises can make choices that drive growth, enhance efficiency and cultivate long-term success. Use ROI accurately and let it guide you to victory.

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Article written by Eleanor
Article written by Eleanor

Eleanor Hecks is the managing editor at Designerly. Connect with her about digital marketing, UX and/or tea on LinkedIn.

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