Software is free like a puppy is free

Sofware is free like a puppy is free: the ongoing costs of ownership outweigh the initial price.

[or if the difference is useful, still don't fool yourself that it will cost nothing to own. Make sure you plan for the expense]

The money you save getting a "free" software product as compared to one you pay to buy or license should be almost negligible in only one part of the business case (you do a business case for a new tool right?). By the time you look at the benefits of a good tool, and the total cost of ownership of any tool, initial price ceases to matter as much.

Learning costs, initial setup, configuration/population, reporting, user training, administration, audit, data quality, support, hosting, maintenance, upgrading... All software will cost way more than the ticket price, just like a puppy.

[update: "free" software still has these technology-related costs, such as configuration, taxonomy design, data populaton, support services, infrastructure to run it on, upgrades to supporting systems, developing reports is a big one, and most of all integration. These are big numbers. And yet i think they are a third of your total costs if you truly take into account the impacts on processes, work procedures, skill sets, and user training.

It would be an exaggeration to say licence costs become negligible in the face of all these costs, but i'd expect them to be more in the range of 5% to 20%. At that level other differences between products other than price become more important.]

More of the puppy analogy :
Shadow IT means "I'll get the puppy and IT will clean up the mess"

Any other suggestions for extending the puppy analogy?

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