In today’s business world, hardware that runs your learning system is relatively cheap. Software probably costs more. These are what are called “visible” costs. But there are hidden costs that include the technology but go beyond the technology itself.
1) Customization runs extra when you buy off-the-shelf solutions. Sometimes they are not even upfront costs, but expenses incurred in the future, particularly if you anticipate changing how you enroll learners, security, corporate processes that impact learning, or reporting data sources.
2) Technology costs that might extend beyond the system or solution that you are purchasing. Links, data storage and so forth fall into this often-missed classification of expenses.
3) Configuration and consultancy, which are occasionally not included in the initial cost considerations. Without them, you have a much lower chance of successfully introducing your new system. One software expert suggests that configuration and consultancy costs can run as high as 20 percent of the cost of the solution.
4) The wages during employee training on new learning systems. Those wages might not be a cost to the learning department per se, but corporate money managers will note the extra expenses. So the simpler the solution to operate, the less it will “cost” the organization.
5) The cost to quality is often not considered. For instance, enterprise-level content management systems have complex workflow tools that prevent new content from going live until it has been checked and double-checked. According to some experts, few organizations implement this kind of quality control because it creates a bottleneck in the approval process.
6) Business process automation is a sizable cost. Your organization often must change the way that you work and the way your clients work with you. These costs can vary greatly, depending on the amount of change your organization must implement to make the learning process effective.
7) Implementing procedures and standards that are necessary to safeguard your systems from threats to privacy and security — especially if you’ve got one of many agencies of Uncle Sam looking over your shoulder. The cost of implementing these procedures and standards are not usually considered in the total cost of learning.