Mar 29 2007

New ROI Approach Puts "Public Value" Front and Center

New ROI Approach Puts “Public Value” Front and Center

Want a new take on calculating return on investment?

Check out a recent white paper that recommends an ROI framework emphasizing a system’s value to the public.

“Officers love the quick turnaround time,” says Lynn Childs, public information manager for the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center (ACJIC). “It also takes NCIC out of the building so they can use it at an investigation.” Other benefits include officer safety, quick response and confidentiality, Childs says.

Typically, government information technology ROI calculations factor in four items: cost, internal return, public return and risk, according to the white paper from the Center for Technology in Government at the University at Albany, State University of New York.

But in “Advancing Return on Investment Analysis for Government IT: A Public Value Framework,” the center suggests focusing mainly on public value, an aspect of the public-return category that is one of the least understood variables, says the center’s deputy director, Anthony Cresswell.

“Our framework recognizes two kinds of public value: value resulting from delivering particular services or benefits to the public and value resulting from improving government itself as a public asset,” Cresswell says. “The framework also treats value from the point of view of the public and government stakeholders rather than from government’s internal perspective.”

Based on case studies in the United States and abroad, the paper also examines existing ROI methods and how to use them in conjunction with the center’s framework. To read the report, go to and click on New Toolkits/Reports.


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