In this episode of Beneficial Intelligence, I discuss price transparency. In the U.S., a coronavirus test can cost $56 if you pay yourself, but $450 if your health insurance pays it. This lack of price transparency makes the U.S. healthcare system the most expensive in the world, costing the US 17% of GDP. Every other industrialized country is below 12%. There are now laws requiring hospitals to publish their prices, but they deliberately hide them from the search engines.
You see the same kind of price obfuscation with cloud vendors, who carefully charge separately for CPU, RAM, storage, network traffic, and make sure that one vendor's CPU is not equivalent to another vendor's CPU.
When you buy proprietary software, you have better price transparency, unless you sign up for one of the "unlimited" licenses the vendors are pushing. Open source has an initial cost of zero, but unless you go with a well-known and popular tool, the true cost can be hard to gauge.
When you are looking for IT products, avoid vendors who wilfully obfuscate their prices. If they are not willing to be honest about the cost, what else will they not be honest about? As a CIO or CTO, make sure your evaluation criteria for software also include price transparency.
Beneficial Intelligence is a weekly podcast with stories and pragmatic advice for CIOs, CTOs, and other IT leaders. To get in touch, please contact me at email@example.com