Moving from a manual to a digital QMS is no easy decision. After explaining to upper-level management the benefits of a digital QMS, you will be asked the inevitable question: “What is our ROI?”

Since the move from a manual QMS to a digital QMS is a considerable investment in time and resources, you’ll need to be able to show how a digital system cuts costs, improves efficiency and saves time.

The formula for calculating ROI begins with finding the current costs of your manual QMS. You can then compare that cost to the anticipated costs of setting up and maintaining a digital QMS. The QMS with the lower cost should deliver a stronger ROI over a period of time.

When calculating if a digital QMS is right for your organization, take these three inputs into consideration:

1) IT Costs for a Digital QMS

Calculate all labor costs as well as those associated with infrastructure, support, and maintenance. A digital QMS can reduce the time spent on manual processes including assessing user needs and document management. Compared with the cost of software to support and maintain critical IT processes, a digital, integrated system has the potential to save your organization money by allowing for allocation of inputs into ROI leading activities.

2) The Project Management Process

Upper-level management, VPs, and other key stakeholders are required to review and sign off on documents. You’ll want to calculate how much time is spent on these activities. Moving to a digital QMS reduces the manual inputs from these players, freeing up time and resources for other revenue generating activities.

3) Loss of Standards

What does your organization stand to lose from a loss of project standards? Key ROI considerations include legal fees, fines, and diminished revenue streams. The new ISO 9001:2015 requirements put an emphasis on a digital QMS to avoid these potential pitfalls.

There are additional ROI considerations as well, such as departmental labor and the loss of sales associated with a decrease in quality.


When properly implemented, a digital QMS will save your organization money. More importantly, it will make your organization compliant with the new industry standards. As additional rules and compliance issues appear, a digital QMS will let you stay ahead of the quality curve.

However, the key phrase is “properly implemented.” Internally implementing a digital QMS is appealing because it appears to less expensive. When you’re building out an ROI formula, consider all of the costs associated with internally implementing a digital QMS. There is significant space for loss in productivity if you choose the wrong system, if the system takes longer than expected to implement or if the system is missing key elements vital to the processes of your organization.

The QMS solutions landscape is complex, and your realized ROI depends on your system of choice. Download our eBook – Best Practices Checklist: Selecting the Quality Management System for Your Organization to learn more about how to choose the right quality management system for your business.