The IT community has struggled with questions concerning the value of an organization's investment in software and hardware ever since it became a significant item in organizational budgets. And like all questions concerning value, the first step is the precise determination of the object being assessed and the second step is the identification of the entity to which the value is beneficial. In software engineering both of these can be difficult.
The precise determination of the object can be complex. If it is an entire information system in an organizational context that is the object of interest, then boundary definition becomes an issue. Is the hardware and middleware to be included? Can the application exist without any other applications? If however the object of interest is, say, a software engineering activity such as testing within a particular project, then the boundary definition becomes a little easier. But the measure of benefit may become a little harder.
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