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Posted by David Aponovich on November 5, 2012
In a recent post, I shot down the myth that you can predict the ratio between web content management license cost and implementation services. (You can read the post here, but the summary is: There is no standard ratio. Like snowflakes, every WCM implementation and digital experience project has its own unique … personality, and cost. It’s not only about the technology.)
But for any application development professional who sources and implements these systems and strategies, you (or your friends in marketing) will inevitably get put on the spot by the person holding the wallet. Their question, “What’s this going to cost us, all-in?” is hard to answer. And no exec wants to hear, “I don’t know.”
We can provide a recipe for turning this question in a productive discussion that lets budget holders understand the Great Unknowns that accompany digital projects.
Costs can balloon for many reasons on a WCM or DX project. Below are just a few reasons in the form of questions. Use them early on in the project/process to educate key stakeholders on the true costs of WCM- or digital-related work – the levers that get pushed and pulled, affecting cost, timeline, and outcomes. It may be your best defense when the money people start asking questions.
I could go on. (I'd love to hear your experiences with WCM and digital experience projects – software vs. services costs. Share your anecdotes in the comments.)
A big problem with WCM buyers and sponsors of digital experience projects is that they tend to enter their projects with a predefined expectation of cost – hence the search for the elusive software-services ratio. They may have heard a cost thrown out at a conference, or vendors have been whispering sweet nothings in their ears about how easy all this is. The lesson: remember the snowflake analogy. Expect variation. That’s the only constant.
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