Gartner Research

How to Use TCO and ROI Effectively to Justify Projects and Technologies

Published: 23 February 2015

ID: G00270504

Analyst(s): Ken Agress


IT professionals are often asked to provide financial justifications for the projects they are planning and implementing. Using TCO and ROI effectively can help build better business cases and create a more useful dialogue with business leaders while increasing IT's credibility and effectiveness.

Table Of Contents



  • The Basics of TCO and ROI
  • Best Practices for Preparing TCO and ROI
    • Engage Finance to Get the Model Right
    • Only Include Assumptions You Can Defend Concretely
    • Don't Estimate Benefits Without Appropriate Management Involvement
    • Make Comparisons Comparable
    • Be Prepared to Address Variability and Risk
  • Using TCO and ROI Appropriately
    • When Should ROI Be Presented?
    • When Should TCO Be Presented?


Gartner Recommended Reading

©2021 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Gartner is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. and its affiliates. This publication may not be reproduced or distributed in any form without Gartner’s prior written permission. It consists of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization, which should not be construed as statements of fact. While the information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner research may address legal and financial issues, Gartner does not provide legal or investment advice and its research should not be construed or used as such. Your access and use of this publication are governed by Gartner’s Usage Policy. Gartner prides itself on its reputation for independence and objectivity. Its research is produced independently by its research organization without input or influence from any third party. For further information, see Guiding Principles on Independence and Objectivity.

Already have a Gartner Account?

Become a client

Learn how to access this content as a Gartner client.