Total Cost of Ownership - IT Help Desk & Customer Service Software

Total Cost of Ownership - IT Help Desk & Customer Service Software
Whitepaper Series: Avoid Mistakes When Buying Any Software or Cloud Services
This whitepaper is part of a series to help avoid mistakes that even the most senior and experienced professionals make that cost companies a lot of time and money. Now, learn to approach the software and cloud services buying process in a much more rigorous and analytical manner.

Key Point: Compare Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of All Vendors

  • Calculate TCO of all products for apples-to-apples comparison. Acquisition costs only 30% of TCO over 5 years per Gartner Group study.
  • Ongoing lifetime costs varies significantly between vendors. What are ongoing costs for customization/configuration, report build/maintain, general maintenance, implementing upgrades, etc.
  • Compare cloud services vs. purchasing traditional software licenses.
  • With traditional software licenses must purchase major upgrades every 4-5 years. Major upgrades are not included with annual software maintenance. Have legal department examine the license agreement.
  • Most fail to ask vendors key questions about ongoing lifetime costs.

Total Cost of Ownership - IT Help Desk & Customer Service Software

It is generally very easy to determine the acquisition costs of purchasing a call tracking system or for any software or cloud service. However, it is more difficult to determine the ongoing total lifetime costs. For example, there are enormous amounts of labor required to build, configure and customize reports with many call tracking tools. Also, your company may need one or two people for routine maintenance, report generation, and ongoing configuration/customization for a locally deployed application.
Ask each vendor on your short list to prepare an estimated Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) over four years, so you can study their assumptions. Ask them to consider all the acquisition and lifetime costs of ownership. This will help you better compare vendors "apples to apples" and understand the true lifetime TCO of a new call tacking system.
This is an opportunity to impress your company senior leaders and check signers. Use peers and social networking sites like LinkedIn to reality check assumptions for lifetime costs. You will gain a lot of creditability with check signers if your TCO analysis is thoughtful and comprehensive.
To make sure that all the appropriate costs are covered, ask vendors about the following:

Looking Beyond the Sticker Price - What it really costs to operate a call tracking system

Acquisition Costs
Application Cost
  • What is the basic cost of the server software?
Licenses
  • What is the cost for user licenses?
  • What is cost for customer licenses?
  • Is there a charge for creating and viewing records?
Up-front Customization
  • If lacking necessary features, what is the average number of hours to customize the tracking system before it can be used? (Small, medium and large changes)
  • What is the consulting cost for customizing?
Server Requirements
  • What are requirements?
  • Will we need a new server or an upgrade?
  • Cost for server hardware?
  • What databases are supported?
  • Will we need a new database or an upgrade?
  • Cost for database?
  • Operating system software requirements?
  • Cost for upgrade or new operating system?
  • What server applications are necessary for network connectivity?
  • Cost for network software?
Web Implementation
  • Cost of Web application to allow customer submits and queries and users to close calls?
  • Cost of Web server hardware requirements?
  • Cost of Web server or server upgrade?
  • Operating system software requirements?
  • Cost for upgrade or new operating system?
  • What server applications are necessary for network connectivity?
  • Cost for network software?
  • Cost of licenses to have any customers use the Web tool?
Report Writer
  • Does application have a built-in report writer so that graphical results can be distributed?
  • Average cost of report writer application?
  • Average cost to integrate with report tool?
  • Is there a real-time view of the information?
Development Environment
  • Cost for a development server application?
  • Cost for admin licenses?
  • Cost of user license?
  • Cost of customer licenses?
  • Cost of operating system software?
  • Cost of networking software?
  • Cost of database and license?
Training Costs
  • Cost to train administrators?
  • Cost to train uses?
  • Are there multiple training locations for my global company?
  • What are there the training options available for all the different needs I might have?
Lifetime Costs
Support Costs
  • Call Tracking System and add-ons?
  • Database Support?
Day-to-Day Administration
  • 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 pulldown lists?
  • Can I make changes to the system during business hours?
Future Customization
  • How much is involved and how long does it take to do a detailed design for changes?
  • Do any of the following require consulting services and average time required:
    • 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?
  • Workflow changes:
    • 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) 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?
Upgrades
  • Are upgrades backward compatible? Average time to test and implement upgrades?
  • Do upgrades require consulting time?
  • If so, what is the average cost?
People Costs
  • 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 downloadable 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?
Network Costs
  • Average time to log on and load the client program when close to server and far distance from server?
  • What is the average length of time for a query to return 1000 calls when close to server and far distance from server?
  • Average time to submit a call when close to server and far distance from server?
  • If we go to multiple servers, what is the average cost for each server (Application, hardware, software, etc.)?
  • Will this take consulting time 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 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?
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