Originally published June 18, 2008
Change is certainly in the air when it comes to politics on both sides of the aisle, but what about change when it comes to your business performance management (BPM) or business intelligence (BI)
solution? For that matter, what about when it comes to your BPM or BI vendor? For today’s users of enterprise software, change is a way of life. If a software vendor releases a new version,
you either upgrade posthaste or settle for reduced support and maintenance. At some point in time, that support may go away altogether. In some cases, the new version is so dramatically different
that you may be required to pay something for it, retrain your staff, and potentially need to redesign and re-implement your application. On the heels of the biggest year of mergers in BPM and BI
history, the pace of change has been greatly accelerated.
This year, many current users of BPM solutions will be faced with some tough choices. As recently acquired product sets are merged with preexisting ones, some products will be put out to pasture. In some cases, both the acquired and the existing product may be phased out in favor of a new “superset” version that takes the best from each. Users most likely to encounter these issues would be owners of products recently involved in a merger. This would include users of products from Applix, Business Objects, Cartesis, Hyperion, OutlookSoft, Pilot and the pre-acquisition performance offerings from Oracle and SAP. Since IBM did not have preexisting performance management offerings of note, we believe this issue is less likely to impact Cognos clients. Similarly, Longview clients will probably see minimal product impact from its acquisition by Exact Software. Users still running older acquired products such as SRC (originally acquired by Business Objects, now part of SAP) or Hyperion Pillar and Hyperion Enterprise will probably be gently (or in some cases, not so gently) prodded into moving to a new product to reduce the support burden on the vendor.
For some users, the decision point will be made very clear: on this date, we will no longer be supporting the product/version you are now running. For others, it will be less obvious as the vendor does not announce their intent to reduce support for a particular product, but they do stop actively marketing and selling it. That should be taken as a clear sign that it won’t be long before the other shoe drops – that product is no longer being supported. The vendors are going to be careful in how they manage and communicate these messages; they don’t want to drive their customers into the competition’s hands. Maybe they will offer minimal support for some time – only major bug fixes and hotline support with an extended turnaround time. Whatever the case, there are key decisions to be made.
What should users do when confronted with end of life notices for their products? There are three basic options:
This is a very important decision, one that will impact you and your company for years to come. Frankly, it is as important as your initial BPM purchase decision, if not more important. In retrospect, maybe you feel you didn’t do enough due diligence the first time around. This is an opportunity to get it right. Consult with your peers in your vendor’s user group and see what their thinking is. Work with an industry expert who is familiar with all of the BPM vendors. Talk to peers who are using products from other vendors. Fully evaluating all of your options is the only way to be sure you are ultimately choosing the direction that is best for you.
SOURCE: Time for a Change?
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