For reasons we can’t even recall, we were doing some research in The Complete and Total History of Abbreviations and Acronyms in the Whole Entire English Language (TCATHOAAAITWEEL) when we came across TCO. We certainly knew TCO stands for Total Cost of Ownership. But we didn’t know that hadn’t always been so.
According to the TCATHOAAAITWEEL, TCO had initially stood for Too Costly Overruns. One day, while working in the language lab at Bletchley Park, Sir Randolph Smedley-Whyte was trying to figure out how to build the Enigma Machine British Intelligence needed to break German codes during World War II. Given the shoestring budget on which the agency operated, Sir Smedley-Whyte was afraid his superiors would be wary of too costly overruns (TCO).
One fateful day, he was joined in the lab by a counterpart from the Russian NKGB, Sergei Agafonov. During an all-consuming deliberation in which he’d lost all sense of self-awareness, Sir Smedley-Whyte blurted out, “The Prime Minister will never approve the building of this machine. He’ll say it’s impossible because of too costly overruns.
On hearing that, Sergei said, “You have to put a more positive spin on it, Dude. Too costly overruns has way too many negative connotations. You’d be better off if you changed TCO to total cost of ownership. Then you’d convince Churchill if he doesn’t build it right the first time, his too costly overruns will go through the roof.”
Sir Smedley-Whyte looked at Sergei in utter astonishment. “That’s bloody brilliant! I’d never have thought of it. But I had no idea you spoke English.”
Sergei replied, “Я должен сломать тебя, and the rest is history.
Get it Right the First Time
When you’re looking for a core insurance-processing suite, you don’t need Sir Randolph Smedley-Whyte or Sergei Agafonov to prevent too costly overruns (TCO) and to ensure a much lower total cost of ownership (TCO). You only have to know a little bit of history and make sure your due diligence includes the track records of the vendors you consider working with.
In addition to ensuring your satisfaction, you’ll be sure to prevent one TCO and to benefit from another TCO.
The choice, as always, is yours.