How to Survive When a Vendor Stops Supporting Technology Vital to Your Business: It’s Not as Bad as You Think.

Orphaned technology? When software vendors introduce and invest in new technologies, older versions often get the “short-end of the stick.”  Sometimes they’re discontinued, replaced, targeted for end-of-life, or simply are not actively maintained.  Of course, that is only a big deal if this technology plays a key role in one – or more — of your organization’s business critical applications.

Working in middleware, we’ve seen this many times over the past 10 years.  We can say with confidence that if you find yourself in this situation, don’t panic and leap to conclusions. Instead, assess your systems, identify any gaps that may limit your ability to sustain and leverage your strategic application, and address those risks systematically. With a little work, you’ll see that you can move forward confidently.

The following lessons can help guide your company when you realize that a technology, intrinsic to your operations, is no longer supported.

5 Lessons learned from Orphaned Technology:

Don’t React, Respond
Take time before you make a decision. Count to ten and apply this strategy.

Get the lay of the land
“You don’t know what you don’t know.”  Over time, an organization’s memory of the technology begins to fade.  Refresh your memory by reviewing the design, implementation, and usage specifics. How strategic is this strategic application? How reliable, flexible, and pro format is it? What does it really do relative to other applications? If you need help, hire a 3rd party (like us) to help assess the situation for you.  eCube uses an ARM process (Assess, Remediate, and Modernize).  During the assessment, we will work with you to create an actionable blueprint that will help you identify the capabilities legacy systems should have and what they should contribute to meet your business goals.

For more information watch these videos about the eCube ARM Process:

Remember:  Some products are more orphaned than others

Companies stop supporting technology for many reasons.  Some are related to technology but many are not. Vendors can often be persuaded to continue support – at a premium price — for an extended period of time. This can give you some breathing room.

You’re not alone
There are other companies in the same situation.  That means they may be a community that can share best practices and, in some cases, a market for services.  If so, you may be able to find 3rd parties companies that provide alternative support and maintenance for orphaned or legacy technology – like we do.

Before you make a decision, do a cost benefit analysis
Assess the real benefits and costs of decommissioning, replacing, reengineering, or evolving the system.  Again, if you need help, hire a 3rd party with experience doing this kind of analysis. It will make you life easier very quickly.

In ensuing posts we’ll discuss doing a cost benefit analysis and what is really involved in the decommissioning, replacement, and evolution of strategic applications.

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