PIE Abacus - costs and sustainability

The proposed charges for the PIE Abacus are based on a balance of four different factors.

The price for the software licences needs to be:

  • Affordable
  • Proportionate
  • Sufficient
  • Sustainable 



The software needs to be as low cost as possible, partly in order to be broadly affordable (or it won’t sell at all) and also in order not to exclude any very cash-strapped services.


The cost should therefore be on a sliding scale, to reflect the size of the agency; and in fairness, as the value in the greater overview is greater for larger agencies.


The price must cover the basic costs of the development and day-to-day administration. Unfortunately that is deemed to be ‘commercially confidential information’; but the point is well understood.


As well as covering the unavoidable basic costs, there ought to be at least some profit margin, even if the profit is then to be-reinvested in the broader project of developing PIEs.

In particular, to keep the PIE Abacus up-to-date and relevant, there needs to be some funds available for on-going development; continuing to maintain and perhaps expand the PIElink as the principal source of information, inspiration and discussion.


Striking a balance

The question then is: how much to keep costs as low as possible, versus having some surplus to re-invest in keeping PIEs and the PIE Abacus dynamic - and therefore a good investment of staff time?

The proposed costings – the overall costs, with the balance of standard licence costs with ‘user numbers’ costs – aim to reconcile these factors as best we can.

NB: Given perhaps two years of actual ‘marketing’ of the ‘product’, we may be better placed to get ‘customer feedback’ on the costs and value; and we may want to revise these initial costings in the light of that.

Further background reading/listening/viewing

The simplest, most effective way to evaluate and improve your PIE from Daniel O'Brien on Vimeo.


PIElink pages

PIEs assessment - what is the point? : HERE

Getting started with an Abacus account : HERE

PIE Abacus licence costs - summary : HERE

Costs as income : HERE

The homelessness sector as a beneficiaries : HERE



Library items

Weighing the costs and 'value added' of the PIE Abacus : HERE

PIE Abacus - essential briefing for PIE leads (and others in comparable roles), HERE


All PIE Abacus FAQs : HERE

  • How do we get a licence?  HERE
  • What are typical costs for a licence?  HERE
  • What other terms of use are there?  HERE
  • How are PIE Abacus costs calculated? HERE