Total Cost Of Ownership

Total Cost Of Ownership or TCO is a metric used to measure the entire cost involved in a computer solution. It includes hardware, software, installation, training, customisation, power consumption and so forth. TCO is not quite truely comphrensive, since it does not include the opportunity costs, consider the costs of not using a computer system or the costs of switching from one system to another.

TCO is heavily dependent on a wide range of assumptions, which are often not widely aired, relating to

Many TCO studies are based on small and medium sized business, and make assumptions which do not hold in education. Assumptions about licence cost are deeply ambiguous when institutions are already part of consortia such as CHEST, which make steep discounts available.

TCO analysis originated with the Gartner Group in 1987. Technically it doesn't consider ownership of the software, since in neither the open source world nor the propriety world is the software actually owned by the end users, merely licensed.


Some of the following links are obviously partisan, all are included for a balanced view.

The Good Stuff

TCO information about eductaion in the UK

TCO tools

OSSWatchWiki: OpenSourceTotalCostOfOwnership (last edited 2013-04-15 13:56:18 by localhost)

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