Unlike the dot-com boom days of the mid-to-late 1990s, businesses are no longer investing in Internet technologies, simply because they are "cool." To succeed, a new technology needs to demonstrate real return on investment and truly add value. RIAs achieve this on several levels: they reduce development costs; and add value throughout the organization.
By making it easier for users to work with software, the number of successful transactions is increasing. This increase occurs across many industries and can be quantified by businesses with metrics, such as increased productivity using intranet applications or increased percentage of online shoppers who complete a purchase. More productive employees can drastically reduce labor costs while growing online sales increase revenue and decrease opportunities lost to competitors.
Breaking away from page-based architectures reduces the load on web servers and reduces the overall network traffic. Rather than transmitting entire pages over and over again, the entire application is downloaded once, and then the only communication back and forth with the server is the data to be presented on the page. By reducing server load and network traffic, infrastructure costs can be noticeably lower. RIAs developed using sound architectural principles and best practices can also greatly increase the maintainability of an application, as well as greatly reduce the development time to build the application.
End users experience the greatest benefits of RIAs. A well-designed RIA greatly reduces users' frustration levels because they no longer need to navigate several pages to find what they need nor have to wait for a new page to load before continuing to be productive. Additionally, the time users spend learning how to use the application can be greatly reduced, further empowering them. Today, there are a number of excellent applications, which would not be possible without the concepts of an RIA, such as the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Configurator and the Kodak EasyShare Gallery applications. These easy to use applications give an excellent example of the ease of use an RIA can offer an end user.