Understanding The Importance Of Legacy Costs

Anyone working in the labor side of things inside the orchestra and opera fields knows how much impact legacy costs have on an institution’s expense structure. Larger budgets typically mean larger legacy costs, especially pension obligations.

Adaptistration People 039And while that’s not going to be changing anytime soon, legacy costs in other departments have been creeping up over the years.

A good example is the total cost of ownership for web-based platforms. These are the actual out of pocket costs across multiple years to properly maintain your website, CRM, Ticketing service, email marketing account, e-commerce platform, etc.

We’re not talking about one-off design or development fees, instead, these are the costs going into making sure those platforms remain up to date and secure.

Traditionally, tech providers focused on providing clients with initial project costs and the bare minimum of legacy costs (hosting, SSL certificates, etc.) without really educating them about the ongoing costs to maintain that code. And given the pace of hardware and software development at the time, that was acceptable.

But that’s no longer the case.

I published an article about this topic at ArtsHacker earlier this week that takes a deeper dive into this topic. So if all of this seems new to you, it’s a good place to begin the education process.

Become Your Organization’s Legacy Cost Hero

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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