November 27, 1996 10:45 AM ET
Cost of C/S implementation exceeds license fees
By Maria Seminerio

  A survey of 40 IT executives in Fortune 1000 companies found that more than half spent more than $5 million to implement a single packaged client/server application, and more than a quarter spent more than $10 million, in large part for help desk services, officials at Forrester Research Inc. said today.

"What's the difference between a successful implementation and a disaster? It's neither the package nor the help vendor, but how well a company manages its help," said Bobby Cameron, an analyst at Forrester, in Cambridge, Mass. "Unfortunately most users don't understand this. They think that choosing the application is the hard work, when it's only the beginning."

Of the executives surveyed, 44 percent said they spent at least four times as much on help desk services from systems integrators as they did on the software license itself in client/server implementation, Cameron said.

The report suggests that IT executives first obtain references for help desk vendors from companies that have put similar systems into place, and set ground rules on costs before signing contracts. Implementation of most client/server systems should not take more than a year to complete, according to the report.

The full text of the report can be obtained from Forrester by calling (617) 497-7090.

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