Proving IT Value for Money in the Public Sector

Back in 2003, Nicholas Carr sent shockwaves through the IT sector with his Harvard Business Review article ‘IT Doesn’t Matter’ and the subsequent book ‘Does IT Matter?’.

It is a challenge to summarise complex business theories in a sentence or two so, if you have not already done so, I encourage you to read the original HBR article available at Nicholas Carr’s blog.  The core tenet of the HBR article is that continually investing ever larger amounts in IT does not necessarily deliver a competitive advantage in the commercial sector or greater productivity and efficiency in the public sector.

A particular challenge in the Public Sector is assessing the contribution that IT makes to delivering the outcomes that matter, for example, to local authorities.  Traditional ICT total-cost-of-ownership (TCO)  and return-on-investment (ROI) models are not easy to link to public sector outcomes such as the national indicator (NI) set.  For example, NI 14 (reducing avoidable contact), NI 185 (CO2 reductions from local authority operations), and  NI 179 (value for money – total net value of ongoing cash releasing value for money gains).

Microsoft’s UK public sector team has worked on a model that does exactly this.  Originally developed with the support of the National Computing Centre (NCC) and an independent benchmarking consultancy, the Business Value Framework (BVF) provides a robust model with indicative assessments of the value that can be delivered by ICT in achieving the outcomes desired from a variety of the public sector national indicators. One of the key differences with the BVF is that it draws on both standard IT ROI/TCO models and the practical experience and results achieved by public sector organisations in its calculations.

You can try out the Business Value Framework on-line to assess what level of benefits a full analysis could provide to helping you to deliver ever-more value from your investment in IT. If you want to know more after trying the Business Value Framework online, email me at and I'll send you a copy of our white paper developed with the NCC and an independent industry-analyst briefing paper on the concept and how it can help better align IT investment to public sector outcome goals.

Posted by Ian 

Comments (2)

  1. Ant Clay says:

    Great clear post Ian, in the current "world" we all need to play a part in facilitating a significant shift away from technology projects to a focus on business value, justification, hard business cases etc.

    It's also worth commenting that a number of Microsoft UK Partners, such as Trinity Expert Systems ( are signed-up and ready to support the Public Sector in running a Business Value Framework assessment and supporting them in the alignment of IT investment to public sector outcomes and goals.

  2. ukgovernment says:

    You are indeed correct. Microsoft provides the software platform and our partners provide the business solutions that enable the value for money savings and productivity improvements that effective IT can deliver.

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