A survey just reported in the London Financial Times has found that many organisations do not know the value of IT their assets. Here we go again...\n\nThe survey, by the software company Micro Focus canvassed 250 CIOs and CFOs in businesses with revenues from $100m to more than $1bn, in the US, UK, France, Germany and Italy.\n\nIt found that 37% of CIOs and 60% of CFOs had tried to quantify their IT assets, and that 56% of respondents thought that the financial value of software was ignored or poorly evaluated compared with other classes of asset.\n\nSo here we go again. I thought we had got beyond the \u201cwhat\u2019s the value of IT?\u201d question, realising that even if we found the answer (which, as we all know from our Hitch Hikers Guide, is 42) it doesn\u2019t really help much. After all, the first strategic principle of IT investment is that Information Technologies, on their own, create no value. It\u2019s what people do with them that counts. \n\nKnowing the value of IT assets may well be a Good Thing and it sounds like we should making more effort to do so, but it\u2019s not going to tell us whether they\u2019re worth having, and whether we\u2019re making the very most of them. And as IT evolves from being capital investments to services, the question of asset value is becoming less and less relevant. \n\nMeanwhile, this survey notwithstanding, the strategic conversation about IT has moved on to the next level of maturity \u2013 about the value we are creating from the business changes that exploit IT. \n\nWith this in mind, there\u2019s one glimmer of hope in the FT article. The dean at Insead that helped to write the survey questions is quoted as saying that \u201ctech people tend to focus on the \u2018new\u2019 \u2013 finding a business case for the \u2018new\u2019. Very little though goes into the benefit and almost none goes into the managing of legacy assets.\u201d \n\nWhile it\u2019s not just \u2018tech\u2019 people who prefer to focus on the \u2018new\u2019, it\u2019s true that you don\u2019t always need to invest in something new to create new value. As another principle of (IT) investment tells us: only a fool would invest in something new to create value they could have from what they\u2019ve already got. That\u2019s true whether we\u2019re talking about IT, a business change, or anything for that matter. \n\nCulturally, executing this principle is still something many organisations have yet to crack.