What is Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)?

Transparent and fair pricing for state agencies.

3Si uses TCO price modeling for our own ECIDS platform—the Child Universal Success Platform (CUSP)—to take the guesswork out of ECIDS budgeting. We help states plan realistically for ECIDS continuous deployment by internalizing all associated costs and providing states with a single annual price divided equally over a twelve-month period.

The single annual price includes ongoing development, customization, and support from dedicated early childhood experts to facilitate ECIDS use over time.

When considering the costs of implementing an Early Childhood Integrated Data System (ECIDS) there are multiple costs that state agencies should consider beyond the initial development costs. Often, when states make requests for vendors to quote the costs of an ECIDS platform, these additional factors get overlooked. Failure to account for these costs often results in mismanaged expectations and cost overruns which can threaten ECIDS support and sustainability in the longer term.

To mitigate these risks, we recommend states consider three additional cost areas:

Continuous Development Costs:

ECIDS Inputs

A successful ECIDS will never be a “finished product” that remains static once implemented. Instead, an ECIDS integrates disparate, diverse external data systems and data sources, all of which evolve continuously, and therefore the ECIDS must also evolve to remain relevant and useful. The result of this increasing use, change, and innovation of the system is that ECIDS requires continuous development to ensure that a state optimizes and maximizes the use of its investment.

✔️ Included with CUSP

Configuration Costs:

ECIDS Outputs and Use Cases

Software development is an iterative process. With use, states identify areas of improvement which require the software to be updated and modified to accommodate for an ever-changing set of user needs and requests, beyond changes in underlying data systems. This customization takes time, resources, and extensive expertise.

✔️ Included with CUSP

User Adoption Costs:

Continuous Iteration

States should account for iterative development and adoption costs in an integrated and cohesive way because users will continuously learn, adapt, and adopt ways to analyze and report data differently. ECIDS need support from staff who are well-versed in statistical methods, advanced data analytics, program evaluation, and have early childhood expertise and experience to help drive data use. Without this ongoing, iterative function, states often struggle to control costs due to the inefficient (or ineffective) prioritization of user demands on system development.

✔️ Included with CUSP

For these reasons, among others, 3Si encourages states to consider a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) model. States that account for these necessary costs when allocating resources and procuring vendor support help set up their ECIDS for success by securing adequate resources and setting realistic expectations for sustainable ECIDS funding.

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