The problem of demonstrating return on investment (ROI) value for enterprise search seems to be a current and troublesome one. Analysts and consultants multiply time spent looking for information by the cost per unit of time. Then taking that result and multiplying it by the number of employees at an organization yields a number. The problem is that the value for the time required to find information is a fuzzy one. The author's understanding is that ROI requires tracking direct and indirect costs for an enterprise search system. The costs include staff time, consultants, software licensing, expenses for solving a problem, and so on. Then the costs have to be connected to some measurable benefit. Also, no one calculates the cost of upgrading a network in order to keep performance acceptable. The author's hypothesis is that neither vendors nor licensees have been fully accountable for the fully loaded cost of a search system.
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