I often get asked by customers, partners and fellow employees: 'How do we justify the expense of an infrastructure to the powers that be who control the purse strings?'

While there is no one single approach to this, the following are some simple ideas.

The first step is to take an objective look at life without the infrastructure, past, present and future. Ask yourself what past problems the high-speed network infrastructure could have eased. For example, did the network in accounting slow to a standstill during the year-end closing last January? Are your remote offices unable to start work on time each morning because the nightly data transfers from headquarters are taking too long to complete? Use these as concrete examples of how the high-speed network will be used in the organization.

Next, ask yourself what will – or won't – happen in the future if you don't build a high-speed network infrastructure.

Then figure out how that will affect the business. For example, survey the network users to find out how long it takes to complete a print job on a network printer. At the same time, ask them how much they expect their printing to increase over the next few quarters.

As another example, let's say that it is a network with 2,500 users, and you find through your survey that on the average it takes users ten seconds to download or upload a document or media file. According to your research, the same task on a high-speed network would take two seconds. You also find, through your document management system, that the average network user saves 15 documents a day.

'Eight seconds' You say, 'big deal!'. A little math will show you that this is a very big deal indeed:

                8 seconds x 15 documents x 250 = 8.33 hours per year.

This means that saving eight seconds per saved document amounts to saving a day's worth of work each year. Your friendly accounting department can help you put a dollar value on this. Suppose you find that the average salary of a network user is $35,000. A day's salary for an average network user would be $140. Getting an extra day's work each year from all 2,500 users would mean an annual savings of $350,000. That certainly should get the right attention.

Please share what has worked for you in the past.

About the Author

James Donovan

James Donovan is Vice President of the CommScope Infrastructure Academy. James joined CommScope in 1993 and has held positions in Sales, Technical, Marketing, Training and Business Development and served most recently as VP of Digital and Creative Services for CommScope. James oversees the CommScope Infrastructure Academy, which is CommScope’s partner and customer training platform. Prior to joining the company, he held positions at GEC, ITT and Alcatel. He holds a Masters Degree in Engineering and a BSc Honors degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

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2 comments for "Need Help Justifying That Infrastructure Upgrade?"
Sion Williams

Some great points. Its finding the business value the system will offer and where possible, what cost savings can be made (as you highlighted). In our experience most people holding tight to the purse strings will be motivated by cost savings especially if you can include a ROI.


Thanks Sion, I would be interested to hear what your experiences are with ROI tools etc and their effectiveness. Over the years, I have seen many ROI methodologies, from the very simple to the very complex. But one thing has always struck me, that at the end of the day, at some point they rely on a leap of faith of some description whether it be assumptions or some other basis for the ROI.

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