On the Edmunds website is a very slick tool that will allow you to calculate the TCO (total cost of ownership, which they’ve cutely trademarked as true cost to own) for a car you may be considering for purchase. The true cost to own tells you what the car will really cost you once you factor in things like depreciation, interest on your loan, taxes and fees, insurance premiums, fuel costs, maintenance, and repairs.
A similar calculation should be done when comparing the pricing of AMS systems. What I typically do for my clients is calculate the first year investment as well as the total cost of ownership (TCO) over five years. For AMS systems, the initial investment will typically include implementation consulting services, data conversion, and training as services you’ll need during the first year. So the initial investment will be higher than the future year investments.
It’s important to take this into consideration when comparing AMS systems, because often the first year costs for systems can be widely disparate but wind up converging over time.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”
“We came to Wes because we were very frustrated with our existing AMS and we wanted to improve our capabilities as soon as practicable. Wes very quickly helped us through a process of identifying our needs, identifying potential vendors, and selecting a new system that we’ll be able to move into very quickly. I especially appreciated Wes’s candor about our processes as well as the systems we were looking at. He was a great resource to have in a period of high anxiety for our organization. I would highly recommend Wes for any similar project.”
Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan
“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”
Tim Wilson, Executive Director
Western Arts Alliance