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Consider the Full Cost

Anytime a project is being evaluated for approval, it is important to consider every aspect of the effort.

During the project definition phase, almost every development effort has a level of excitement as the team gets its arms around the idea of “we are going to build something!” As features and functionality are defined, and ideas flow through the project community, the projected effort (and budget) grows.

How many times are projects created without including one (or more) critical stakeholders? Oftentimes, these stakeholders have a knowledge and understanding of an area that the rest of the team has very little knowledge of. In the past, it wasn’t uncommon to see an IT team develop data feeds, or interfaces to third parties without understanding corporate rules and guidelines surrounding the sharing of data with third parties. Too often, not counting the full cost of a project will jeopardize the feasibility of the effort.

When evaluating a project for development, it is critically important to make sure the complete cost of the project is considered when evaluated against the benefits. Below are some key items and questions that need to be considered:

  • Are there any legal ramifications, and has the legal or compliance teams been included as part of the project team?

  • What about risks, real or perceived? Is there a Risk Management team that needs to be included in the discussion? Are there any needed data security certifications that need to be considered?

  • What on-going, long-term costs will this project create, i.e., data storage and software maintenance?

  • Are there dependencies on other systems or teams that could be in jeopardy of drastic change or termination in the foreseeable future?

Many high-cost projects have begun with dreams of great value and benefits. Yet, once development and implementation get underway, all of the items that weren’t considered start adding up and the once magnificent dream of “what could be” vanishes as careers are at risk, explaining why the expenses are so high.

When it comes to the employment verification process, there are a number of third party options that are driven by the hunger for an employer’s precious payroll data. Employers are wise to take the time to consider the full cost of using any third-party solution. Key points to consider before contracting for any service are:

  • Data. What data does the service require? Does it contain full SSN’s? How often does it have to be sent? Where is it stored? How long is the data kept? Is the provider a data aggregator?

  • Implementation Time. How quickly can your team begin utilizing the service? Some solutions require large IT efforts to develop the weekly data feed. This can take anywhere from 3 months, to a year or more of development effort.

  • Data Monetization. What other services does the provider offer in the marketplace that uses your employee data as a key resource for generating revenue? Is the data being used for purposes outside of responding to verification requests?

  • Customer Service. Everyone says they have customer service, but what does that really mean? Will your team be subjected to a large call center that is out of the country, or will you have the name and number of someone who knows you and cares about the success of your business?

These key points are not comprehensive. There are many more that could be added. The advice for the day is simple…

“Consider the Full Cost”

…before you undertake an effort.’


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