Thursday, June 9, 2011

For our Law Firm Friends - Cloud v. Desktop: Comparing Costs

When working with Law firms we recommend considering Clio's cloud based practice management solutions along with Google Apps. They recently published a new whitepaper, “Comparing the Costs: Analyzing the total cost of ownership of Clio vs. traditional desktop practice management solutions,” that provides an in-depth analysis of the true cost of ownership of Clio, a cloud computing application, v. traditional desktop applications, namely Time Matters, PC Law and Amicus Attorney.

The whitepaper was developed to help answer a frequently asked question from prospective customers:  “Although cloud-based solutions like Clio are more affordable than traditional desktop solutions on a month-to-month-basis, don't cloud-based solutions end up being more expensive over the long term?”

Their analysis shows the answer to this question to be a decisive “No.” They answered the question by analyzing the Total Cost of Ownership, which consists of the following for both cloud-based and traditional desktop-based software:
  • Acquisition costs: software and hardware.
  • Initialization costs: installation, configuration, training and data migration.
  • Operating costs: support, maintenance, upgrades, energy consumption (power), downtime (software/hardware failures) and data backup.

One of the biggest up-front costs with traditional desktop software is the initial up-front licensing costs. Taking a typical two attorney / two support staff firm as a reference point, we find Amicus Attorney results in $6,637 in direct software-, hardware- and training-related costs over the first year. Clio, meanwhile, only costs $1,776 over the first year.

Some argue that cloud computing costs more over the long term than traditional desktop-based solutions, but our analysis found the opposite. Aggregating costs for the same referenced firm above over the course of three years results in costs of $9,917 for Amicus Attorney, whereas for Clio the cost is only $5,328 over three years.

Clio is part of the Apps Marketplace and easily integrates with Google Apps.