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Technology philosophy #5 – Just because it’s free doesn’t mean it has no cost
21 September 2012, by , in Executive, IT, No comments

The internet is awash in free software. I love it, of course. So much software, so little time!

But just because software is free does not mean that it has no costs associated with it. Even the simplest of software will have some level of learning curve associated with. That means you’ve got to invest time in learning how to use the software.

And the more sophisticated the software, the more time it will require from you. Or from someone you’ll have to pay. For example, two of the most common content management software (CMS) packages in use today are Drupal and Joomla. Both programs are entirely free. You can download them right now and start using. That is, if you know HOW to use them. And therein lies the cost.

In order to use Drupal or Joomla, you’ll have to invest time learning how to use the software, or you’ll have to pay someone who already knows how to use the software to install it for you and teach you how to use it. So even though it’s free, it certainly isn’t without cost.

I don’t mean to pick on Drupal or Joomla, or any other open source software, for that matter. Free is good. But it isn’t without cost. And you need to keep that in mind no matter what technology you choose.

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Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
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National Association of Life Brokerage Agencies

“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.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

Mary Pat Paris
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

Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
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