Cost: Acquisition vs. Ownership

Whenever you consider making a large, either personal or business, purchase it is important to look beyond the cost of acquisition to the total cost of ownership. Often times you will discover that the low cost of acquisition option will cost far more, over the life of the product, than its higher priced cousin. Take a look at things like reliability, ongoing operating cost and usability as you make your initial decisions. You may be able to buy on the cheap but if your purchase ultimately doesn’t meet your needs, costs more to operate and breaks down on a regular basis (sounds like my first car) you’ll soon forget how much money you saved to begin with.

Here are some specific questions to ask yourself if you are considering free, near free or very inexpensive software: Will the application be mission critical for your organization? Or is it just a useful utility? How long will the organization use it? If you are considering a mission-critical application that will be with you for the long haul, you should hold it to a much higher standard.
Many of these same questions will apply to almost any major purchasing decision.
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Cost: Acquisition vs Ownership