The other day I talked about the TCO of Call Center/Customer Service & Help Desk Software-Acquisition Costs. The following is a listing of the important lifetime costs that you want to make sure you carefully quantify. Ask the vendors that you are considering to put together an analysis to show you what the TCO will be of their solution over 3 years. That is a reasonable time horizon. Most traditional software vendors will actually make you repurchase the entire application every 3 years or so. It is important that you understand this. Carefully read the software license agreements for this important detail. Annual Software Maintenance Agreements will only buy you incremental upgrades with moderate feature enhancements and bug fixes. They never include new User Interfaces and rewrites which are major product releases. How else do you think the traditional software industry has created so many billionaires and multimillionaires. Customers enjoying the economics of the SaaS model are saying the party is over. Are you taking advantage of this sea change or would you rather help your company pay for another software billionaire's yacht?
Here are the Lifetime Costs to consider:
Cost for Support:
Call Tracking System and add-ons?
Average time to set up a security group?
Average time to add, change or delete users from their system accounts?
Average time to make changes to pull-down lists?
Can I make changes to the system during business hours?
How much is involved and how long does it take to do a detailed design for changes?
Does any of the following require consulting services and average time to:
Add labeling to a view?
Resize a field?
Move a field?
Add a form?
Add a button?
Add a Menu?
Add a field to the database table?
Add a view?
Average time to modify views for display on different type platforms and monitor resolutions?
Average time to modify the way certain calls notify the service technician?
Does this require consulting programming costs or can it be done in house?
Average time to change the way certain calls are routed?
Average time to develop a feature that automatically creates multiple tickets (parent/child and predecessor/successor) based on workflow logic that is maintained by the service groups affected?
Average time to design, write, and debug triggers and stored procedures?
Average time to design, write and debug an application program integration (API) utility?
Average time to document changes made to the system and where are these stored?
Average time required for testing changes?
Are there utilities to help with the testing?
Once changes are made, average time for end users to review and gain acceptance?
Average time to move the changed functions from the development server to the production server?
Are upgrades backward compatible?
Average time to test, and implement upgrades?
Do upgrades require consulting time? If so, what is the average cost?
Is the system reliable? How much downtime is anticipated a year?
Average time for a user to become proficient?
Ease of client installation?
Creating New Applications:
Do you have templates or down-loadable applications outside the help desk area?
If so, how much do they cost?
If not, how long does it take to create a simple application?
Average time to log on and load the client program when close to server and from a distance?
What is the average length of time for a query to return 1000 calls when close to server and from a distance?
Average time to submit a call when close to server and from a distance?
If we go to multiple servers, what is the average cost for each server (Application, hardware, software, etc.)?
Will this take consulting to implement?
Do you integrate with network monitoring applications such as LanDESK or SMS?
What is the cost to integrate with a network monitoring application?
Future Application Integrations:
Do you have an Asset Management (AM) application? Cost to integrate?
Do you integrate with remote control/access applications? Cost to integrate?
Do you integrate with Autodiscovery applications to inventory software on the desktops? Cost to integrate?
Do you have a Change Management (CM) application? Cost to integrate?
Do you have a knowledge management application? Cost to integrate?
Do you integrate with enterprise financials such as SAP? Cost to integrate?
Do you integrate with Report Writing packages? Cost to integrate?
Do you integrate with two-way paging applications? Cost to integrate?
Do you integrate with palm computers such as Palm Pilot? Cost to integrate?