When considering the costs of your current data management system(s), you need to consider both direct costs (how much you pay to actually use the software) and indirect costs (e.g., workarounds required, staff headaches, missed opportunities fro selling, etc.). In many cases, indirect costs far outweigh the direct costs of software, but are often unseen or ignored.
A client told me she was having trouble with staff turnover, especially with younger staff. When I asked her about her technology, her eyes got big and she said: “The last staffer who left me told me in her exit interview that she was leaving in part because the technology we had made her job so hard to do.”
That’s a great example of indirect costs. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. That “cheap” or free software might have much higher indirect costs than you realize.