A real-options model for generalized meta-staged projects – Valuing the migration to SOA Article (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • Ghosh, Suvankar; Li, Xiaolin


  • This paper develops an innovative real options (RO) model for valuing multi-stage information technology (IT) projects that can be viewed as comprising of meta stages. In RO literature, multi-stage investment programs have been treated as either interproject or intraproject programs, with intraproject programs being evaluated using n-fold Geske compound options and interproject programs valued using the so-called “subsidy-to-exercise price” logic. Our innovative RO model integrates the Geske compound option model with the subsidy-to-exercise price approach to value sequential investment programs that are neither purely interproject nor purely intraproject in nature but are comprised of meta-stages. A meta-stage as a whole can be considered an interproject stage resulting in cash flows but internally it consists of several intraproject stages which do not result in cash flows. We show that a key problem in IT, which is migrating to a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) for integrating a firm’s many disparate applications, systems, data, and business processes, is best viewed as an investment program comprising of meta-stages. Examining SOA migration from an RO lens is particularly apt at this time not only because of the importance of SOA but also because doubts have surfaced about the value of SOA. We illustrate our RO model by applying it to the simulated case of a firm migrating to SOA. We also develop a software tool based on the MathematicaTM computational platform so that practitioners can easily apply our innovative options pricing model to determine the true value of SOA in their business contexts.

publication date

  • 2013

published in

start page

  • 1011

end page

  • 1027


  • 24