Identifying the Stage of your Software Lifecycle

Is your Solution Obsolete?

There have been many discussions around a product’s life cycle and the five stages identified: introduction, growth, maturity, decline and exit.

But at what point do you make the decision to enter the buying cycle again and what are the first pain points an organization feels before retiring an existing solution and proactively researching new technology? How do you determine if your software is obsolete or simply requires maintenance?

1. Business Needs Change

The most inherent pain point is the acknowledgement of internal dissatisfaction. It’s often difficult to recognize when an organization’s business needs change, predict how it will affect the system or know the potential strain it might impose on the people maintaining it.

If your system can’t handle increased workloads or the way you do business has changed, your solution may be obsolete. It could be that you have more customers completing online transactions and the solution wasn’t designed to accommodate the current demand. Or that you need to ensure audit compliance which wasn’t a requirement when you originally made the purchase.

Small and medium businesses need a solution that will be SOX compliant, automate standardized processes and have with the ability to scale as the business grows.

2. Adding Human Capital to Maintain

As users continue to witness frustration when their system encounters recurring issues, we’ve seen organizations add additional resources to facilitate a fix. Although this may be an interim solution to an ongoing problem, it shouldn’t be considered a long-term resolution.

If an organization adds headcount instead of reinvesting in technology, your solution may be obsolete. Fixing outdated technology is hard to maintain, drives down productivity and is costly to an organization.

Small and medium business owners need a solution that is less dependent on IT – one that can better enable them to plan, execute and measure against business drivers that will provide the greatest ROI.

3. Data Latency

If it becomes more difficult for you to make sound business decisions or get a holistic view of performance due to data latency, it’s a good indicator that your system wasn’t designed to handle increased transaction volumes or deliver the reporting you need. Your solution, at a minimum, should be a driver for improved efficiency across multiple Line of Business (LOB) applications.

If your reporting is less than stellar, it’s a good indicator that your solution may be obsolete. Not only is the system underperforming, but you’re not getting the reports and KPIs needed to drive improved performance.

Small and medium businesses need a solution that will deliver greater insight in productivity and profitability, helping owners proactively respond faster to the needs of their business.

4. System Failure

Unfortunately technology will occasionally fail. And it usually happens when maintenance has expired. If your solution doesn’t provide optimal redundancy and recovery capabilities, and users don’t have access to immediate help, product upgrades or the resources needed to react, it’s a good indication that the system has outlived its usefulness.

If a solution doesn’t allow you to get back to business quickly, your solution may be obsolete.

Small and medium businesses need to ensure that a temporary disruption in business is just that – temporary; and that the system and processes in place continue to service their needs and the needs of their customers even in the midst of an emergency.

5. Customer and Employee Retention

Managing employees and customer relationships is key to the current and future success of any organization. When employee turnover becomes an issue or you find you no longer have the details of each customer’s business needs, step back and examine why.

If your organization is witnessing larger-than-normal turnover or delivering exceptional customer care is becoming a challenge, your solution may be obsolete.

Small and medium businesses, now more than ever, need to make the investment in employee training and in technology that will deliver successful customer care. And the more you know about each of your customers and their business needs, the more you can meet their expectations.

So take charge! Whether it’s a change in your business needs, data latency issues or ongoing maintenance problems, lay the groundwork to proactively determine the right time to make a software change. And when you do, you will have done the legwork to make your case.

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