Many technologies become much more expensive than expected when all associated costs are taken into consideration. For a party to be sure that it is prepared for all short- and long-term costs, it must ask itself these questions:

  • What is the real cost of a potential tech solution, taking into account the software purchase, creation or customization, as well as its installation, training and staff time?
  • Will the technology require additional hardware, such as computer network servers, hard drives, or smart phones, and if so, will that hardware need to be hosted in a physical location owned or rented by the party? This hosting may incur additional security costs, such as security software upgrades; additionally, the hardware will have to be replaced in the future, as most computers last only about five years before they become too outdated to be compatible with current software updates.
  • Will the project require online data storage, and if so, how much? Be sure to understand the security implications of storing party data online.
  • Will the technology require significant online bandwidth? Be sure to research the price of improved bandwidth if needed.
  • Will the technology require software updates in the future, and if so, what is the direct cost and does it include staff/vendor/consultant time?
  • If a project is being implemented incrementally, with new features being added over time, can early technology choices influence the longer-term costs? Be sure to include the cost of all desired upgrades and their associated requirements.

A party should consider three cost categories: acquisition costs (buying the tool’s necessary hardware and software); setup costs (the price of installation and professional training); and ongoing costs (hardware and software maintenance, and ongoing labor).

Types of CostsPrice

  1. Computer
  2. Internet modem and router
  3. Accessories: mouse, keyboard, speakers, connector cables.
  4. Software (e.g., Microsoft Office, security program)

  1. $1,000
  2. $200
  3. $75
  4. $500
Setup Costs

  1. 2 days of onsite professional services (at $500 per day)
  2. 3 days of administration training (at $1000 per day)

  1. $1,000
  2. $3,000
Ongoing Costs

  1. Hardware maintenance (at 20% of acquisition cost)
  2. Software maintenance (at 20% of acquisition cost)
  3. Labor (at $50 per hour, 4 hours per year per computer )
  4. Staff time (at $10 per hour, 40 hours per week)
  5. Year two staff cost ($8 per hour, 20 hours per week)
  6. Software/Hardware upgrade after two years

  1. $200
  2. $100
  3. $200
  4. $13,000
  5. $8,320
  6. $800
TOTAL (one year)$28,395