I’ve written before about the The future of the WPO/WCO marketplace? and about
Who should be on your WPO team? but today I want to explore more about the economics of web performance and why I think the future of WPO/WCO/#WebPerf is automation.
My strongly held view is that WPO/WCO isn’t a project, it’s an on-going process, which implies that if you are going to form your own in-house WPO team you are looking at a significant investment in time, human resources and money.
If you had an 8 person team as per my earlier post, at a base salary here in the UK of about £40K that’s £320K in basic salaries alone. Add in pensions, training, office space, PC’s etc lets add 25% for extras on top, giving us £400K (minimum).
If we cost that out over the 3 years we normally use for software purchase lifecycles, that’s £1.2M.
Ok, let’s dial that right back and say… that you only hire 1 permanent employee to be the WPO guru and do the rest of the project with contractors over 3 months (60 days).
£40K base + 25% for extras for the permie times 3 years = £150K, 7 contractors on £400/day times 60 days = £168K. Grand total is now £318K.
Much more palatable!
OK… so let’s say I look at an automated solution instead.
The prices vary for these depending on whether you use an appliance, per server or SaaS solution but for the sake of argument lets say I chose a per server solution and it’s going to cost me £8K per web server per year.
If I have 10 servers that’s 10 servers times £8K times 3 years = £240K.
I’m £78K in front (£240K vs £318K), and haven’t had to recruit any staff, pay huge recruitment fees, find office space etc etc.
Plus with an automated solution you are likely to get your site running faster, sooner, without the uncertainties and delays of a software project, and hence start to reap the conversion benefits of the faster site immediately.
Well, I was playing around with an automated solution this week and with less that a day’s effort I got these results for a consumer e-commerce site.
Before – 215 requests, 7.7 seconds
After – 71 requests, 4.7 seconds
In a full scale implementation the accelerated site performance would be even faster because this was performed as a quick proof of concept using a micro EC2 instance as the acceleration solution host to reverse proxy the origin server. In a real implementation it would be optimised/transformed “at origin” thus eliminating the additional round trip delays to the Amazon data centre in Ireland.
Anyway. my point is that unless you run very large numbers of servers or have lots of IT staff with web perfomance skills lying around doing nothing the economics of web performance optimisation heavily favour automated solutions, even if you use commercial product as I have discussed in this post.
If you throw in open source solutions like Site Speed the economics favour automation even more.
So it’s worth doing the numbers before committing to a complex development project if there are some automated “quick wins” just waiting to be grabbed!"