4.2.2 Ex-ante evaluation
Personally I can’t see any reason why ex-ante evaluation is any different from technology assessment, as defined above. One exception is if assessment is collapsed into evaluation, and the terminology is used interchangeably, as is commonly the case; this then gives us a term we can use to separate the two. Ex-ante evaluations are: ‘Predictive evaluations performed to forecast and evaluate the impact of future situations ...’ (Remenyi et al., 2000, p. 25).
Ex-ante evaluation should not, however, be confused with formative evaluation: the former is primarily concerned with prediction, the latter is not. For example, in respect to IT investment, ex-ante evaluation could be used to forecast the outcomes of the application or implementation of a particular technology or system against a set of indicators. These are many and various, but include the internal rate of return, or payback, and can include both tangible and intangible costs and benefits.
In this context ‘The purpose of ex-ante evaluation is to support IT investment justification’ (ibid, p. 25).