**CALCULATING **

**THE ROI OF CASE **

**MANAGEMENT **

**SOFTWARE**

### Equations for determining the dollar value of your

### proposed investment

When preparing to show return on investment (ROI) to your stakeholders, you should find all the evidence you can. ROI can include both soft benefits—such as enablement, organizational, intrinsic, political, social, and ideological—and hard benefits— those to which you can assign a dollar value.

This white paper discusses the importance of hard numbers, provides equations for determining return, and provides equa-tions for determining the overall value of the system.

*You will never get *

*a financial person *

*to approve a project *

*without a metric *

*or number behind *

*it. You can’t *

*man-age what you can’t *

*measure.*

*-Carmen Barrett *

*TechRepublic director of *

*planning & analysis*

**THE VALUE OF NUMBERS**

**W**

hile monetary figures may seem an inappropriate way to
measure an IT project’s value, these figures are among the
data most commonly required by financial leaders before
they will grant project funding. “You will never get a financial person to
approve a project without a metric or number behind it. You can’t manage
what you can’t measure,” said Carmen Barrett, TechRepublic director of
planning and analysis.
Whatever investment you are proposing must compete against many alternative uses for the money: for instance, a non-IT investment for another department, adding additional personnel, even doing nothing. People naturally fear change, especially when that change involves money. Thus, you must be prepared with convincing figures as to why your pro-posed solution is the best investment for your organization.

As you determine those figures, though, realize that possibly the worst thing you can do is use unrealistic numbers for your calculations. While it may be impossible to exactly calculate your return, take the time to make your figures as accurate as possible. Also, avoid the temptation to hyperinflate your numbers beyond what is realistic. If you exaggerate your numbers, you may set up unrealistic expectations for ROI, potentially resulting in premature funding cutoff when those figures are not realized. Alternatively, decision makers may realize that your numbers are unrealis-tic, making them unlikely to support your project.

To make a convincing case, you must provide hard numbers of how much money your solution will cost, how long it will take to bring in a return, and how much return you can gain over a specified period of time. You must also be prepared to show how you obtained your numbers and ex-plain them to decision makers in a way that makes sense to them.

**CHASING ROI**

In theory, calculating ROI is very basic. You divide your net profit by the total amount invested and then multiply by 100 to find the percentage:

**ROI = Net Profit/Total Investment * 100**

For example, if an organization invests $150 and the net profit is $27, the ROI would be 18 percent (27/150 * 100).

When dealing with IT investments, however, calculating ROI can be much more daunting. Instead of simply pulling out a cash drawer and counting the money inside, you must look for return in a variety of places. For example, you may find return in:

**• Cost avoidance. The system allows you to avoid **

spend-ing money on someone or somethspend-ing new.

**• Asset reallocation. The system allows you to shift **

re-sources from one area to another more in line with your core purpose.

**• Added value. The system brings in revenue. **

**• Side effects. The system may generate savings **

indirect-ly, through increasing savings to another department.

**LOOKING FOR RETURN**

The following subsections offer several ways to find dollar savings. De-pending on the features offered in your software, all of these methods may or may not apply to you. Hopefully, these ideas will help you think of other places to find ROI as well.

**#1: Data Sharing**

Automated data sharing decreases the time needed to enter data.

**ROI = (Number of cases you receive from other agencies) x **
**(time required to enter each case into your system) x **
**(per-hour value of time).**

For example, assume that you receive 150,000 cases annually from your city police department. Each case takes 30 minutes to enter into their system, and the data entry personnel’s time is valued at $30/hour. The money you could save each year through implementing a data sharing project would be 150,000 x .5 x 30, or $2,250,000.

Data sharing also decreases the need for in-person meetings (thus, reducing time lost to traveling) because individuals no longer need to

**ROI = (cases each year that involve in-person meetings) x **
**(number of meetings required) x (driving time) x **
**(per-hour value of those going to the meeting). **

For example, assume 20,000 of your cases each year require an attorney (valued at $180/hour) to meet once with a police officer to exchange in-formation. Each meeting averages 15 minutes (.25 hour) of driving time. Implementing electronic data exchange would save 20,000 x .25 x 180, or $900,000 a year.

**#2: Document Automation**

Document automation significantly decreases the amount of time it takes to create documents.

**ROI = (documents created/day) x (working days/year) x (time required **
**to create document) x (per-hour value of time).**

Say your data entry personnel create eight documents/day and work 240 days/year (assumes a five-day work week and 20 holidays/year). It takes them 15 minutes (.25 hour) to create each document using a template and their time is valued at $30/hour. Document automation would save you 8 x 240 x .25 x 30, or $14,400 a year.

**#3: E-filing or Web Access**

You can generate new revenue through charging the public to view infor-mation or download or file forms online.

**ROI = (charge per transaction) x (anticipated transactions). **

For example, if you charge $5 for a transaction, and you estimate 4,000 transactions a year, the system would generate $20,000 a year.

**#4: Electronic Bar Coding**

Electronic bar coding allows you to reduce or eliminate the time spent looking for physical files.

**ROI = (hours a day spent looking for files) x (working days in a year) x **
**(per-hour value of time).**

Assume your legal secretary spends approximately two hours a day look-ing for files and works 240 days a year. Her time is valued at $40/hour. This functionality would save 2 x 240 x 40, or $19,200

**#5: Organized Information**

A good case management program stores all your information related to a case in one place, allowing for easy access when an attorney or client calls to talk. Instead of spending non-billable time hunting for files before you can return their call, you can pull up all relevant information on your computer in a few seconds.

**ROI = (time spent a day looking for files/communications) x (working **
**days in a year) x (per-hour value of time).**

If an attorney spends 20 minutes a day (.33 hour) looking for case details, works 240 days/year, and her time is worth $180/hour, the system would save .33 x 240 x 180, or $14,256 per attorney per year.

**#6: Statistical Reporting**

Systems that provide automated reporting eliminate the need to deter-mine statistics by hand.

**ROI = (Avg. hours spent a week) x (working weeks) x **
**(per-hour wage).**

If your legal secretary spends 10 hours a week determining statistics (50 weeks/year), and his time is valued at $40/hour, you would save 10 x 50 x 40, or $20,000 each year.

**#7: Time Tracking**

If your solution provides time tracking functionality, the increased ease in tracking time will allow you to slightly increase the amount of billable time you record each day.

**ROI = (extra time) x (per-hour wage) x (billable days). **

For example, if an average billable hour is $180 and your new system

## al-“

*If the attorneys in *

*your office spend *

*20 minutes a day *

*looking for case *

*information . . . *

*the system would *

*save $14,256 per *

*attorney per year.*

days/year, your increased revenue would be .16 x 180 x 240, or $7,200 per attorney per year.

**#8: Virtual Filing Cabinet or Data Sharing**

Systems involving virtual filing cabinets or data sharing allow you to save money on paper.

**ROI = ((Number of Cases X avg. sheets of paper) / 500) x **
**(cost of ream of paper).**

The following table shows the savings a virtual filing cabinet could yield, based on varying numbers of cases and paper per case.

**Case Type** **2008** **Est. sheets of **
**paper per case**

**Est. sheets **
**of paper per **
**year**
**Reams of **
**paper per **
**year**

**Cost savings per **
**ream of paper**
Nuisance
Abatement
1,338 50 66,900 134 $669.00
Traffic 132,064 2 264,128 528 $2,641.28
General
Sessions
33,382 2 66,764 134 $667.64
Juvenile 6,565 1 6,565 13 $65.65
**Totals** **173,349** **404,357** **809** **$4,043.57**

**Table 1. Cost efficiency of a paperless environment**

**LOOKING AT THE BIG PICTURE**

After you’ve calculated your potential return, it is time to look at the big picture: whether the return justifies the cost. This section will present four equations that may help you in your analysis. Again, you do not need to use all of them—instead, use the one(s) that make the most sense for your organization.

Keep in mind that finding ROI involves many variables besides just the initial investment and net return. A few other factors that are often over-looked include:

**• Time. Investments can take years before you realize a **

re-turn. Depending on the time frame you choose, you may produce dramatically different ROI figures.

**• Maintenance. Maintenance costs are unpredictable and **

can nullify your ROI. Choosing a vendor with a mainte-nance plan will greatly simplify this calculation.

**• Time value of money. A dollar is worth more today than **

it will be five years from now. As IT investments often take years to yield a return, your solution must generate more than you invested just to break even.

**• Training. Even the best of systems require some **

getting-used-to. Account for some reduced production while your staff learns a new system.

**• Benefits. When determining a cost or return that **

in-volves human resources, remember to add the cost of benefits into the employee’s salary.

**#1: Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)**

Total Cost of Ownership measures all direct and indirect costs that are associated with your software program from the point you acquire it to the point you get rid of it. Begin this calculation by creating a compre-hensive list of all the costs the project will involve. For instance, your list could include:

• Vendor fees

• Internal human resources • Additional hardware/software

• Reduced productivity while staff adjusts to new system

After making a list, break each item down into as many subcategories as possible. Don’t forget to consider the human resource time involved in evaluating proposals, helping the vendor implement the solution, main-taining the software after implementation, etc. You will often find that human resources costs far exceed other costs.

Next, make your best estimate for each cost for each of the solutions you are considering. You may find it useful to use a worksheet, such as the one shown at right, to track these expenses. Your calculations should include both one-time expenses (e.g., license fees) and reoccurring costs (e.g., maintenance fees).

**Vendor** **1st Year ** **Annual ** **1st Year** **Annual**

License Fees Project Management Training

Travel

**Internal Human Resources**

Evaluating proposals Training time for staff

Time of SMEs, IT personnel helping implement the solution

**Additional Hardware/Software**

X New Computers X amount RAM

**Table 2. Sample cost evaluation worksheet**

**#2: Net Present Value (NPV)**

Your solution’s Net Present Value (NPV) is the amount you expect your solution to generate less the amount you could earn by putting the money into a Treasury bill. For ease of understanding, this equation is broken down into two equations:

**Net Present Value (NPV) = PV - required investment, and **
**Present Value (PV) = [C1/(1+r)n], where:**

*C1= the expected return,*
*R = the risk-free return, and*

*N = the number of compounding periods*

Say you invest $100,000 and estimate a return of $125,000. For simplic-ity’s sake, we will assume this return will be realized after the first year. If you could earn 5% interest by putting the money into a Treasury bill instead, your PV would be $119,047, ($125,000/(1 + .05)), and your NPV would be $19,047, ($119,047 - $100,000).

**#3: Payback**

Payback looks at how long it will take to recover your investment. You can easily determine this using a table, such as the one shown below.

This table assumes an initial investment of $10,000 and a yearly return of
$4,000.
**Year** **C _{0}**

**C**

_{1}**C**

_{2}**C**

_{3}**C**

_{4}**Total**

**0**-$10,000 -$10,000

**1**-$10,000 $4,000 -$6,000

**2**-$10,000 $4,000 $4,000 -$2,000

**3**-$10,000 $4,000 $4,000 $4,000 $2,000

**4**-$10,000 $4,000 $4,000 $4,000 $4,000 $6,000

**Table 3. Return on investment over three years**

As shown in this example, it will take 3 years in order to generate a posi-tive return on your investment.

While this calculation is easy, it is a little overly simplistic in that it doesn’t adjust for the time value of money. You can account for the de-creased value of money using the Net Present Value equation. If we were to re-create the table using this equation, the values for C1, C2, C3, and C4

would be $4,000, $3,809 $3,628, and $3,455, respectively. The modified
calculation would still show a return on your investment in 3 years, but
your net profit would be a little less at $4,892 (assuming R = 5%).
**#4: Break-even Analysis**

The break-even analysis figures what the worst-case scenario can be in which your investment still breaks even. For this calculation, you need to separate your fixed costs (i.e., overhead) from your variable costs (i.e., costs that depend on your number of clients or types of cases).

Say that your new case management software includes document automa-tion capabilities, resulting in a reduced cost of $40/file, $15 in overhead and $25 in variable costs. Assuming that the average client brought in $1,000 worth of revenue, the following table shows various calculations for what the net return would be for 0, 90, 100, and 110 clients.

**Clients** **Revenue** **Initial **
**Invest.**

**V a r i a b l e **
**Costs**

**Fixed Costs Total**

**0** 0 -$100,000 $0 -$150 -$100,150

**90** $90,000 -$100,000 -$2,250 -$150 -$12,400

**100** $100,000 -$100,000 -$2,500 -$150 -$2,650

**110** $110,000 -$100,000 $2,750 -$150 $7,100

**Table 4. Break even analysis**

According to the table, you would need just over 100 clients (about 103) in order to break even.

**CONCLUSION**

While determining the hard benefits for your case management solution can be challenging and time-consuming, doing so will ultimately help you gain approval from key decision makers and make everyone’s jobs easier and more productive.

Contact New Dawn toll-free today (1-877-587-8927) to learn more about how calculating ROI benefits can contribute to the success of your procurement process.

**About New Dawn **

**About New Dawn**

**Technologies**

**Technologies**

New Dawn serves more than 250 courts and justice agen-cies of all different sizes with our software solutions.

Our software is highly con-figurable, delivering all the advantages of a custom-de-veloped program with all the benefits of an off-the-shelf solution. It will assist with case management, document automation, report genera-tion, internet access, data sharing, and more.

For more information, con-tact us at 1-877-JUSTWARE or visit our website at www. newdawntech.com.