After recommending IDEA to a friend, I got him hooked and now he wants to convince the management at his firm to buy him a copy. IDEA costs $599 with one year of service and support. The place he works already bought licenses for JBuilder and TogetherJ. Two other IDE's for developing Java code.
How should my friend convince his manager that he needs yet another IDE? Simple. Tell a tale of good economics and productivity. Let's imagine my friend is payed the median salary of $76,000 and works the median 1,689 hours a year ($76,000 in yearly pay / $45 in hourly rate) for a senior developer in the U.S. A rough cut says that 50% of his time is actually spend programming and the rest is meetings, designing, courses, etc.
You could then argue that his company spends $76,000 to get the 834.5 programming hours by claiming that the rest of his time (the other %50) is spend in support costs to the actual programming. That puts a price tag of $91 per programming hour.
Now for the more serious leap of faith. How much time will my friend save by switching to IDEA? That's a pretty big unknown, so let's try to go around it. How much time must my friend at least save over the course of a year in order get a return on the investment?
The answer: $599 / $91 = 6.6 hours. That's over the course of a year. In productivity terms that 0,8% (6.6 / 834.5).
There are no silver bullets, but there's plenty of 0,8% productivity gains to be had.