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Software systems and computational methods
Reference:

System analysis of tools and software products for evaluating the effectiveness of investment projects

Sheptukhin Mikhail

Postgraduate student, Department of Computer Science, Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas

65 Leninsky Ave., Moscow, 119991, Russia

sheptukin@gmail.com

DOI:

10.7256/2454-0714.2023.4.68973

EDN:

BLOZQY

Received:

10-11-2023


Published:

17-11-2023


Abstract: The subject of this study are investment design management tools that allow evaluating the effectiveness of investment project options. The object of the study is digital products (software solutions) designed for automated efficiency assessment and selection of attractive projects for investment. The author has determined that the choice of the most profitable project for investment is the key task of the pre-investment stage of the investment process, while the presence of a large amount of information, the influence of external and internal weakly controlled factors, the state of uncertainty accompanying the investment process actualize the use of software products. Particular attention is paid to identifying and formalizing requirements for software products for risk analysis and evaluation of the effectiveness of investment projects, which will save time and financial resources and eliminate the influence of the human factor on the choice of a project for investment. The research methodology includes the use of a systematic approach to identifying tools and indicators for evaluating the effectiveness of investment decisions. The author conducted a comparative analysis of software products that act as tools for assessing the attractiveness of investment projects when choosing the most acceptable for the development of commercial activities of industrial enterprises. The results of the comparative analysis of domestic and foreign investment project management software solutions presented on the technology market made it possible to systematize programs, identify their strengths and weaknesses and formulate requirements for an optimal software package for analyzing and evaluating the effectiveness of investment projects of an industrial enterprise. The digital solution developed by the author for risk analysis and evaluation of the effectiveness of investment projects should have the following characteristics: functionality, reliability and stability, interface and usability, compatibility, price and licensing conditions, technical support. Based on the results of the study, the scope of application of the results of the comparative analysis of software products is determined the further development of digital solutions for evaluating the effectiveness of investment projects, ensuring the effectiveness of the management process of investment design of enterprises.


Keywords:

Investment project, system approach, comparative analysis, performance evaluation indicators, efficiency evaluation methods, selection of investment projects, software product, program characteristics, advantages of the software product, disadvantages of the software product

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Introduction

The current conditions of increasing sanctions pressure of Western countries on the Russian economy and the objective need for the development of domestic enterprises in the non-resource sector of the economy determine the importance of developing Russian technologies to ensure sustainable socio-economic growth of commercial enterprises. Maintaining the competitiveness of enterprises and organizations is impossible without an active investment policy that allows to form a modern material base of enterprises and ensure the receipt of financial resources in the future.

The relevance of the study of tools and methods for evaluating the effectiveness of investment projects is justified by the influence of two main factors: increased attention of public authorities to the development of project management in the production and economic activities of Russian enterprises, which is proved by the development of the Analytical Center under the Government of the Russian Federation, the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, regional project offices in the subjects of the Russian Federation [19], on the other hand economic sanctions imposed by Western countries impose restrictions on the import of spare parts, equipment, aggregates and technologies, pushing Russian enterprises to differentiate and diversify production, which requires investment and selection of the most attractive investment projects [4].

A brief review of the literature sources on the research topic

There are three approaches to understanding the essence of an investment project of an industrial enterprise:

- as a "justification of the economic feasibility, volume and timing of capital investments" [18], this approach reflects the official requirements of the legislation of the Russian Federation and the standards, norms and rules of investment approved in accordance with the established procedure for obtaining public investments [36];

- as a cash investment program that leads to an increase in the financial resources received in the future [14];

- as a business plan for the implementation of any undertaking, innovation to achieve the goal, not necessarily commercial, providing benefits [20].

The presence of a mandatory time lag between the moment of investing funds and their return and profit determines the main phases of the investment process: pre-investment, investment and operational.

The first stage of the investment process is key both for the initiator of the project and for the investor. The initiator of the project conducts marketing research, develops a feasibility study of the project, searches for suppliers, contractors and investors of the project. Investors at this stage evaluate the effectiveness of various investment projects to choose the most attractive, which requires investments of money and time due to the need to collect and compare a large amount of information on alternative project options. The relevance of the research topic is justified by the importance of the use by the investor at the pre-investment stage of project development of optimal software solutions in terms of costs and the result obtained, providing an operational and reasonable choice of an attractive investment project with minimizing the influence of the human factor. Most authors [8, 35, 37] agree that in order to successfully conduct the pre-investment stage of project development, an information system to support investment decision-making should be formed at the enterprise.

A systematic approach to the management of investment projects and at the enterprise

A systematic approach to the management of investment projects at the enterprise includes the presence of "principles, object, subject of management; investment policy of the enterprise, investment management functions, legal, regulatory and information support, management methods and tools" [9].

According to the Methodological Recommendations for evaluating the effectiveness of investment projects [18], the effectiveness of an investment project is its compliance with the set goals, therefore, when selecting projects, it is impossible to evaluate only the financial side, since the goals may be not only the return on investment and getting more profit, but also changing the image of the enterprise, expanding the scope of activity or achieving superiority over competitors. Therefore, methods of analyzing the effectiveness of investment projects should allow evaluating not only commercial indicators, but also social performance indicators.

We believe that the evaluation of the effectiveness of investment projects to select the most attractive should be based on the following principles:

- study of the project features throughout all stages of its life cycle;

- modeling the flow of all cash flows, accounting for additional costs and receipts during the implementation of the project;

- comparison of conditions for the implementation of different projects;

- taking into account the interests of project stakeholders;

- multi-stage process of project evaluation and selection;

- accounting for the impact of inflation, uncertainty and risks.

In the process of studying the approaches of Russian authors to the classification of methods for evaluating the effectiveness of investment projects, a mixture of the concepts of "methods for evaluating efficiency" and "performance evaluation indicators" has been revealed in many scientific papers [16, 37]. For the purposes of the study, it is necessary to clearly distinguish these concepts. The method is a generalized set of research techniques related to a certain theory [17]. An indicator is a "quantitative characteristic of an object" [5]. The methods of evaluating effectiveness as a result of application provide a set of interrelated indicators, the numerical value of which is used by the investor to compare the attractiveness of different investment projects.

The most acceptable indicators in the investment methodology are criteria based on the discounting method, which takes into account the value of money over time. Evaluation of the effectiveness of an investment project is based on a certain system of indicators that allow you to compare the results obtained from the implementation of the project with investment costs.

To assess the effectiveness of long-term investment projects, various indicators are used, such as:

- net present value (NPV),

- profitability index (PI),

- payback period taking into account discounting (DPP),

- internal rate of return (IRR),

- modified rate of return (MIRR).

When choosing the most effective investment project for implementation, different methods can be used to calculate the values of the same indicators, which leads to contradictory results. To solve this problem, it is necessary to carry out a more thorough selection of comparison indicators and conduct a detailed risk analysis at the pre-investment stage and during the implementation of the project. This will help you choose the best alternative from all possible options, taking into account the external environment and avoiding artificially presenting the desired project as really really profitable.

When choosing an attractive investment project, the expert conducting the assessment needs to assess the degree of probability of risks, among the risks associated with the financing of investment projects, Pershin M.A. identifies four groups: risks associated with the stage of construction of facilities; risks associated with the stage of operation of the facility; risks associated with the creditworthiness of the initiator of the facility; risks associated with with a set of ongoing projects [33]. The first two risk groups are difficult to predict at the pre-investment stage of project planning, while the third and fourth groups can be identified and assessed at this stage using appropriate methods.

Professor Kozin M.N. substantiates the importance of using an integral methodology for evaluating the effectiveness and selection of an investment project [15]. In his opinion, all methods of evaluating the effectiveness of investment projects can be divided into two groups: based on a system of clear criteria and based on the theory of fuzzy logic and linguistic variables. The first group of methods involves the selection of specific indicators or performance evaluation criteria from well-known and actively used in investment science and practice (such as the net reduced effect indicator, the return on investment index indicator, the discounted payback period indicator, and others), the values of the calculated indicators are normalized and reduced to the final integral indicator according to a certain algorithm. The second group of methods takes into account the uncertainty of the external environment and possible risks of the project, using fuzzy logic methods to determine the causal relationship between the "input" and "output" of the process of preparing and implementing an investment project, which requires the collection and analysis of a large amount of data.

Other authors distinguish methods for evaluating the effectiveness of investment projects into groups based on the dynamism of the evaluation indicators used: static methods involving the calculation of profitability and payback period of the project, and dynamic methods that take into account the cost of investments over time when using mathematical discounting of the cash flow of the project based on the calculation of compound interest [9, 14]. The problem of using dynamic methods is to determine the discount rate, this process is subjective; the basis of the discount rate value is the key refinancing rate of the Central Bank of Russia, but the final value is influenced by a number of internal and external factors: the size of the enterprise, the liquidity of shares, investment experience, the reputation of the management team, the percentage of inflation in the economy of the country, the stage of the life cycle of the industry and others. An increase in the discount rate ensures that the maximum number of investment risks is taken into account, but leads to a decrease in net present income and the profitability index of the project [32]. The wider the range of values of the discount rate at which the investment project is recoupable, the greater the "margin of safety" of this project.

When assessing the economic efficiency of investment projects, enterprises can use the services of specialized consulting agencies that have intellectual and information resources to conduct a qualitative examination of projects, but this option requires financial expenses and access to internal, sometimes confidential, information about the financial activities of the investor, which is unacceptable for commercial enterprises. A more attractive approach is the acquisition of software that allows the specialists of the enterprise itself to use methods of evaluating the effectiveness and selection of attractive investment projects based on the use of the capabilities of software products.

Comparative analysis of software products for evaluating the effectiveness of investment projects

Most of the software solutions presented on the software market are tools for managing the implementation of investment projects that allow you to allocate resources between performers, track the execution of work and budget execution at certain stages of the project, and present the relationship between the work and its performers. But these software products do not allow assessing the economic efficiency of projects at the pre-investment stage, do not give the investor information to choose the most successful project for implementation, while they require sufficiently complete integration with the existing corporate information system of the enterprise to obtain detailed information from other information modules unrelated to the investment project being implemented, which is time-consuming and time-consuming. process.

We systematize the investment project management software solutions presented on the market, which help automate and simplify project management processes, based on their applicability for analyzing and evaluating the effectiveness of investment projects at the enterprise into the following groups:

- comprehensive software aimed at ensuring the effective operation of the entire information system of the enterprise, these programs include functions for managing investment projects as a built-in module: SAP [29];

- software solutions that have project management as their main purpose, but do not specialize in evaluating the effectiveness of various investment projects: Microsoft Project [26], 1C Project Management [23], Yandex Tracker [30], Power Project [25], Primavera P6 [28], Jira [24];

- specialized software designed exclusively for working with investment projects: Open Plan [27], COMFAR application software package [31], Project Expert [22], Altinvest [21].

Table 1 presents a comparative analysis of software products for investment design currently on the market.

Table 1 Comparative analysis of software solutions for analyzing and evaluating the effectiveness of investment projects

Program name

The main purpose

Advantages

Disadvantages

SAP ERP, new version - SAP S/ 4HANA (Germany)

Enterprise resource planning [1]

All key business functions of the enterprise, including project management, are presented.

Availability of cloud and local versions.

High price and complexity of implementation into the enterprise information system.

Rigid model of the tools used.

Difficulty in adapting to specific business processes of the organization.

Project Expert (Russia)

Development of business plans and evaluation of investment projects [32]

Flexibility in the use of investment analysis tools and techniques.

Accounting for inflation when planning the volume of investments.

User-friendly interface in the form of a book.

The dependence of the result of using the program on the user's qualifications.

The details in the calculations are too detailed.

Alt-Invest Sum (Russia)

Development and analysis of investment projects. Preparation of a feasibility study and business plans [6]

The possibility of simultaneous development of a package of investment projects.

The possibility of making changes to the calculation algorithms ("openness" of the package).

User-friendly interface.

Using the capabilities of the Excel spreadsheet editor only.

Difficulties in introducing a large array of source data.

COMFAR Application Software Package (Austria)

Description and calculation of the main stages of investment design [35]

Universality of calculations for different spheres and branches of investment.

Compliance of the methodology with the technical feasibility of United Nations Industrial Development Organization projects.

The impossibility of calculating taxes under domestic legislation.

Inconvenient interface.

The closeness of the calculation algorithms used.

PROPSPIN (Austria)

Preliminary assessment of the formation of the financial portfolio of the investment project [3]

Development of several scenarios for one project.

The inability to account for inflation and other environmental factors.

Limited duration and number of projects.

Microsoft Project (USA)

Resource planning, progress tracking, budget management and creation of reports on projects of any type [12]

Versatility, flexibility and integration with other applications of the developer company.

Broad support of the user community.

Difficulty in use by non-professional users.

No real-time updates of data and reports.

High licensing costs.

The presence of useless functions.

Limited opportunities for collaboration and collaboration.

1C: Project Management (Russia)

Management and automation of business processes of project management at the enterprise [2]

Full compatibility with other 1C products.

Automation of the entire workflow of the project office.

Full accounting of Russian requirements and standards of taxation and financial accounting.

A 1C specialist setup is required.

Complex interface.

Priority financial accounting of project activities.

Power Project / formerly Asta Powerproject (UK)

Project management, formation of calendar and network schedules and control of their execution [34]

Support of multi-level planning methodology.

Integration with other software products.

Modularity of the proposed solutions.

Adapted primarily for construction projects.

There is no integration with email and other templates.

Primavera P6 / Oracle Primavera P6 (USA)

Project portfolio management [1, 11]

Integration with a large number of software solutions and other enterprise management systems.

High flexibility and scalability.

Monte Carlo risk analysis.

The need to download a special database for work.

There is no trial version.

There is no possibility of comparing projects.

High cost.

Yandex Tracker (Russia)

Allocation of resources and monitoring of work by project participants [10]

Simple and intuitive interface.

There is a free tariff for individual users and small teams.

Visibility of information and reports in the form of dashboards.

Non-operational technical support.

There is no integration with business messengers.

The delay in completing tasks during the transition between projects.

Jira (USA)

Managing team work on a project using Agile technology

It is relevant for programming users due to the possibility of flexibly changing settings.

Low price.

There is an application for mobile devices.

The difficulty in using an unprepared user.

Not suitable for complex and large projects.

Poor interface quality.

Open Plan (USA)

Calendar resource planning and project implementation control [7]

Flexible resource planning.

A single management system for several projects in the enterprise.

Monte Carlo risk analysis.

Limited functionality.

High cost.

The complexity of user training.

Let's formulate the characteristics that a software product should have for use in the process of analyzing and evaluating the effectiveness of investment projects:

1) Functionality: the program should offer a wide range of functions and tools, but at the same time, the need to use a specific set of functions requires several packages (variants) of the program with different capabilities and cost.

2) Reliability and stability: the program should work stably with different versions of the source data, while it is important to have round-the-clock technical support based on a virtual assistant or chatbot.

3) Interface and usability: the interface should be intuitive and easy to use even for an untrained user, since the high usability of the program speeds up work with the program and reduces the likelihood of possible errors when working with the user program.

4) Compatibility: the software product must be compatible with the main business management programs of the enterprise, with Russian operating systems and accounting programs, the need for a specific operating system or specific equipment reduces the versatility of the program.

5) Price and licensing: the demo version of the product should be distributed free of charge, the program itself should be distributed using several tariffs for different versions of the program in complexity.

6) Technical support: It is necessary to provide customer support on the developer's website, on social networks, as well as with the help of virtual assistants and chatbots, this may include the possibility of receiving help from the development team or access to updates and bug fixes.

Conclusions

Management of investment projects of industrial enterprises requires an integrated approach and specific skills combining knowledge in the field of finance, resource management, technology and legislation. The most urgent issue requiring primary research in the field of investment design management is the development of a new or selection of optimal software for use from the software available on the market that allows automating, intellectualizing and speeding up the process of evaluating the effectiveness of investment projects to select the most attractive in specific business conditions. A comparative analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of existing investment design software products on the market made it possible to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed programs and formulate important characteristics and basic requirements for the software package developed by the author of the study for the analysis and evaluation of the effectiveness of investment projects.

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Peer Review

Peer reviewers' evaluations remain confidential and are not disclosed to the public. Only external reviews, authorized for publication by the article's author(s), are made public. Typically, these final reviews are conducted after the manuscript's revision. Adhering to our double-blind review policy, the reviewer's identity is kept confidential.
The list of publisher reviewers can be found here.

The subject of the study. The article is devoted, based on the title, should be devoted to the systematic analysis of tools and software products for evaluating the effectiveness of investment projects. The content of the article, in general, corresponds to the stated topic. The research methodology is based on the analysis and synthesis of data on software solutions for evaluating the effectiveness of investment projects. At the same time, when finalizing the article, it is recommended to pay attention to the statistics of the use of these applications. This made it possible to provide research results demonstrating the practice of using each software product. It was also interesting to learn about the correlation between the advantages and disadvantages of each product and the practice of using them. The relevance of conducting a systematic analysis of the tools and software products for evaluating the effectiveness of investment projects is beyond doubt, since the implementation of investment projects is required to ensure the economic development of the Russian Federation. At the same time, it is extremely important that the maximum part of them be successfully implemented, therefore it is extremely important to evaluate the effectiveness of investment projects. Special attention should be paid to the fact that the results of this assessment can be used in the implementation of state and municipal expenditures for these purposes. Scientific novelty is present in the materials submitted for review. For example, it is linked to table 1, which presents the results of a comparative analysis of software solutions for analyzing and evaluating the effectiveness of investment projects. Style, structure, content. The style of presentation is scientific. The structure of the article is built by the author, which allows you to reveal the chosen research topic. At the same time, it is also recommended to add a section "Methods and conditions of research" so that it is clear exactly how the author conducted this scientific research. Familiarization with the content of the article allows us to conclude that the author conducted a comparative analysis of software solutions for evaluating the effectiveness of investment projects, identified advantages and disadvantages. Also of interest are the characteristics that a software product should have for use in the process of analyzing and evaluating the effectiveness of investment projects. However, how exactly should they be used? Perhaps the author has a suggestion for the layout of the required software product? Because a number of these characteristics are given in a very general way. For example, it is stated that "the interface should be intuitive and easy to use even for an unprepared user." What does it mean to be intuitive? It would be good to see a concrete example of a clear interface. It would also be wise to indicate potential users of the obtained research results. Bibliography. The bibliographic list consists of 37 sources. It is valuable that the author has studied a fairly large number of publications, as well as indicated electronic resources. At the same time, the fact of the absence of foreign scientific publications draws attention to itself. When finalizing the article, it is also recommended to supplement it with sources of numerical data that will be used to substantiate the author's conclusions and recommendations. Appeal to opponents. Despite the generated list of references and its analysis in the introductory part of the article, unfortunately, there is no scientific discussion about the results obtained. When finalizing the article, the author should definitely discuss the scientific results obtained with the research results contained in the works of other authors. Conclusions, the interest of the readership. Taking into account all the above, we conclude that it is necessary to finalize the article, after which the issue of publishing a scientific article can be positively considered. The article will be of interest to a wide range of readers, especially if the comments indicated in the text of the review are fully taken into account.