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
- hardware is used
- software is used
- levels of IT staff training and competitence
- levels of general staff training and competitence
- levels tele-working and field-work
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
BECTA's May 2005 Open Source Software in Schools:A study of the spectrum of use and related ICT infrastructure costs. reaction from Microsoft
The JISC funded A Guide to Investing in Proprietary, In-House or Open Source Software and Services project at Strathclyde has released a number of documents, including a Senior Management Briefing Paper, A Guide to Investing in Software and Services and a A Guide to Revising Institutional IT Strategy
Links about TCO
Links to specific TCO studies