Software systems and computational methodsReference:
System analysis of tools and software products for evaluating the effectiveness of investment projects
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
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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 , 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 .
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" , 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 ;
- as a cash investment program that leads to an increase in the financial resources received in the future ;
- as a business plan for the implementation of any undertaking, innovation to achieve the goal, not necessarily commercial, providing benefits .
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" .
According to the Methodological Recommendations for evaluating the effectiveness of investment projects , 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 . An indicator is a "quantitative characteristic of an object" . 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 . 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 . 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 . 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 ;
- software solutions that have project management as their main purpose, but do not specialize in evaluating the effectiveness of various investment projects: Microsoft Project , 1C Project Management , Yandex Tracker , Power Project , Primavera P6 , Jira ;
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
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.
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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