There is a consensus among academics and practitioners that ICT investments should be carefully justified, measured and controlled. This is not different for the development of a service architecture or the development of particular services as such. In practice, the traditional capital
investment appraisal techniques (CIAT’s) such as payback period or net present value are by far the most used techniques for assessing the feasibility of ICT investments. Nevertheless, serious doubts about the fitness of these techniques in a service based value net environment arise. Value nets have special characteristics such as high flexibility and agility, re-use of services,… that makes the use of these techniques very difficult and the reliability of the outcome most uncertain. Efforts are made to find more appropriate techniques. In the past, CIAT’s have been adjusted so that these techniques become more reliable in an ICT environment and new justification
methods and techniques have been developed. However neither these adjusted techniques nor the new techniques are frequently used. This might be explained by the fact that the outcome of these techniques is difficult to interpret and to use and the fact that some significant problems
(like the estimation of hidden costs) remain unsolved. Moreover, most of the new techniques are still in the conceptual phase. In this paper we evaluate these adjusted and new techniques in the light of service oriented architectures. We will argue that non of the techniques offers a good solution for assessing the business value of IS services.
Despite the existence of a wealth of literature, the IS community appears to be no nearer to a solution to many problems associated with ICT appraisal. This is potentially problematic when dealing with investments in emerging technology such as IS services or service architectures.
Since all techniques presented in the article have their drawbacks, it is safe to say that reliance on a sole technique may lead to sub-optimalisation or even failure. Therefore it makes sense to use a mixture of techniques, eliminating or diminishing the weaknesses of each of the techniques used. We strongly recommend a multi-layer evaluation process, or an evaluation process derived from
the balanced scorecard, for the appraisal of investments in services or service architectures.