re: What's The ROI On Federal IT Spending?
Return on investment for government is not a simple number, it's a matrix. Because the money spent is no ones and the benefits of the expenditure also are no ones, successful expenditure is measured by a grid of intangibles.
Everyone wants to sell the government--the successful vendor isn't just an order taker and, since the government official isn't spending his own money, being the cheapest isn't an issue.
Things that make the vendor desirable to have around determine which products will be purchased by government. Things like: does the vendor's pitch inflate the egos of the government officials charged with approving the expenditure? Does the vendor insulate the officials from any negative consequences of the purchase yet accrue positive aspects of the purchase to the government officials who promoted the purchase? Does the vendor throw free and entertaining seminars promoting purchase of his products? Does he seem genuinely interested in each official's well being and in that of the official's family? Is he fun? Does he help with the official's problems other than as regards the product he's selling? Is he discreet, can he keep a secret? Does he "have your back?"
Selling government, then, is about the salesman, not about the product.