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March 14, 2013

Hidden costs you must be aware of when buying web services

At Legalesign our commitment is to offer the lowest overall cost to customers. This means we look at the whole way our customers use our platform and consistently work to design, develop and reduce these hidden ongoing costs. This is part of the reason for example we focus on good business support and bias our investment toward infrastructure - frustratingly new customers don't see that side of things straight off, but over time it will add up for them.

The label price doesn’t say it all. While companies are now embracing an eco-system of fault-tolerant web services, reducing a swathe of software costs, it’s still worth assessing hidden costs when picking software providers…

1. Cost of change – As Benjamin Franklin said, ‘when you’re finished changing, you’re finished’. How will the web service you’re using be able to adapt to change in your business? When management decides that your divisional team will move into a new network-oriented innovation hub, you need systems that can adapt and scale.

2. Cost per user – Take care of per-user pricing. Consider users who may not directly use the service. What if you need to add a manager who wants oversight, or accounts payable to download the invoices. Suddenly per-user billing can increase unexpectedly.

3. Cost of training – After a good quarter your department needs to expand and staff arrive to take up the slack. You could spend a week in training, or a few minutes, depending on your system. Systems that are intuitive, easy and accessible to all, whatever their skill levels, will significantly reduce ongoing costs.

4. Cost of time to use – extra clicks don’t take long for you alone, but think of them adding up over a year, now think of it adding up for 10 users, or a 100. A clean and fast system can save hundreds of hours and a lot of time every year.

5. Cost of workarounds – ‘computer says no’ moments are the bane of many an employee, and customer. Systems need to be adaptable and handle the different edge scenarios not just the day-to-day ones. Figure out the less likely situations that may arise and make sure your system can adapt, or better yet, that your web service provider is sufficiently agile they will adapt the overall system to handle your unexpected situations when they arise.


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