What Do Information Technology Support Services Really Cost?


Leaders of IT organizations are troubled by the lack of reliable benchmarks or comparative data on which to base decisions about support services. Presidents are mystified by total cost of ownership (TCO) studies that appear in the popular press and higher education publications. The numbers quoted in these studies don't seem realistic in light of actual expenditures on campus. Institutional trustees, concerned about rising annual costs for information technologies, are asking hard questions about the impact of services on the educational program and the value the institution is getting for its investment. The COSTS project aims to obtain consistent and reliable data, analyze it in meaningful ways, and develop benchmarks for IT services. This article describes the project's origins and word to date and reports initial results in three support services areas.

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