How to calculate ROI in SaaS

David Levy
July 20, 2020

When companies research potential solutions they should expect, even demand, to see “return on investment” (ROI) information during their selection process.  Indeed, search for any type of software on the Internet and you will find websites that feature claims about how their products deliver ROI to end customers.  It’s not uncommon to find web-based calculators that help compute this return.  This ROI is usually expressed as either a percentage increase (for revenue) or decrease (for cost reductions).   

This type of ROI transparency by technology companies is a real service to potential buyers.  It accelerates their purchasing processes, making it easier for them to rule solutions providers in (or out). It also helps them narrow their “short list” to only those firms that meet their internal success thresholds.  Finally, when a solution provider is transparent about ROI it signals their willingness to be held accountable by buyers to measurable objectives.


Evaluating ROI claims 

There should be little question that ROI transparency benefits buyers; but savvy searchers should view ROI claims through a lens of curiosity.   Analyze these claims like a scientist would analyze the results presented in an academic paper.  One should ask several questions including,  

  • Are these claims real?  
  • How are they computed?  
  • What are the underlying assumptions?  
  • How much data informs these claims?  
  • Does the ROI output represent a small sample size?  
  • Has the provider extrapolated one use-case and applied it to others?
  • Was the ROI a one-time result or can the provider point to an ongoing track record?

In that regard, OrbitMI’s ROI assertions are based on years of customer data.  

 The Orbit platform went live in the summer of 2017 and has been continuously operational ever since.  During that period, the total number of vessels and the segment types on the platform have only increased. Additionally, the technology itself has been improved through several feature enhancements, through dozens and dozens of development “sprints,” all of which have extended the platform from one functional use-case to many others (see our solutions page).  

In other words, when we share our ROI assertions you know they are based on:  

  • Lots of data
  • Massive sample size
  • Multiple use cases
  • An extensive track record
  • Years of measurable and repeatable results  

How Orbit generates value 

Orbit generates significant ROI each year.  Some customers report returns of more than $16mm.  We generate ROI in several ways including the following areas:    

Increased revenue from…


Intelligence on competitors' activities in port and predictions on their next moves strengthens negotiating positions on which fixtures to pursue…Visibility into time charters optimizes the timing of re-delivery…data on trade routes and global fleet positions improves long-term investments…commercial teams have more time to deepen customer relationships, which leads to more business


Cost savings from…


More accurate, enriched data on each vessel delivered in real-time alerts let operators intervene earlier with captains to slow down which reduces fuel costs…Access to global bunker prices, efficient collaboration among charterers and operations powered by competitive intelligence improves the bunker desk’s ability to negotiate beneficial bunker contracts


Improved productivity from...


Single unified intelligence platform eliminates the need to login, gather & correlate data from multiple systems, which saves time, minimizes errors from double entry and simplifies workflows so commercial teams manage more vessels with the same staff…from 5 to 8 vessels per operator to 8 to 10 per operator


Ongoing sustainability from...


Visibility into the performance of each voyage and vessels helps reduce bunker consumption which directly reduces CO2 emissions, pre-configured and automated reports to regulators minimizes both the risk of non-compliance and the work effort associated with compliance


What’s harder to measure but equally as important are the many qualitative benefits that come from using Orbit such as,  

  • More efficient collaboration across teams and regions
  • Feelings of control over day-to-day work
  • Improved staff morale (fewer menial tasks)  
  • Lowering of internal barriers between groups
  • Peace of mind due to better visibility into data 

Our methodology is based on a 100-vessel fleet 

Computing a return along all of these areas can be complex considering the myriad variables associated with operating a fleet such as fleet size, vessel segments and sizes, ships entering and exiting pools, days at sea and fuel types to name a few.  We base our ROI calculations on an average bunker price of $550/mt [see update below] and index the results to a base fleet of 100 vessels. 

Would your results be the same?  Maybe.  They could be even better.  For each customer, our team configures an ROI calculation based on the characteristics of your fleet and your business.  

If you are interested in talking further about how Orbit can help your business, contact us using the link below.

UPDATE:  Since we built our ROI calculator, bunker prices have fluctuated significantly, largely due to the impact of COVID-19 on the world economy and global demand.  Lower prices would change the magnitude and timing of your results, which would be significant in any case. Bunker prices will rise as the global economy comes back, and then fluctuate as they usually do.  

The important message is:  Call us and we'll show you what's possible for your business.


Find out more

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