iTECH: Generating Returns from Tech Spending

Carriers feel constant pressure to keep up with the latest technology, but choosing when and how to invest precious capital is not easy. There’s no simple tried-and-true formula for calculating the return on investment. One size doesn’t fit all in this industry.

First, recognize that all of the costs and benefits may not be obvious or easily measured. “There are hidden costs and hidden benefits,” said Vikas Jain, who currently is chief operating officer of Zonar Systems, in Seattle, but was senior manager of product marketing at Omnitracs, in San Diego, at the time of this interview. “It goes both ways. The costs that are most obvious to include when calculating ROI are the purchase costs and monthly subscription costs. Those are fairly standard and most explicit.”

Less obvious costs include the loss of productivity while scaling the learning curve that comes with new technology. “What people often don’t factor in are things like training or any kind of disruption that might occur as the organization deploys a new solution and moves from old processes to new processes,” Jain said. “The transition period may tax the organization in a variety of ways.”

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By Bruce Lilly, Contributing Writer

This story originally appeared in the December 2014/January 2015 issue of iTECH, published in the Dec. 15 print edition of Transport Topics.

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