Primero Systems Blog

Investing Wisely in Software

In the ever-changing world of software, there are compelling reasons to assess whether your software solutions are in need of replacement. For example, you may be running a legacy system whose technology has approached, or is approaching, end-of-life and/or technical support. Similarly, the original vendor may no longer be in business. Regardless of the motivator, it is exceptionally prudent to determine if your operational health is at risk should anything go south.

That said, it is also judicious to maximize your original investment and not be coerced into upgrading to the latest technology solely for the sake of technological currency.

We have witnessed more than a few instances where the CIO has fallen victim to the latest shiny new object and has initiated the wholesale replacement of their currently functioning operational system. I need not mention that this investment comes at tremendous expense both in initial development or license outlay, but also in the hidden cost of employee training and lower productivity during adoption.

A common theme seems to be embracing the latest "big-data" architectures, which can provide remarkable data throughput advantages.

But what benefit does this investment bring to the organization? Is your existing system unable to sustain current demand, or is there an expected threshold that will be surpassed in the next two years? Does it remarkably improve operational efficiency? Does it broaden the potential customer base and therefore drive new revenues or profitability? What are the business improvement factors that justify the venture?

Even more curious is how the CIO successfully lobbies the CEO to support the typically significant cost outlay.

I’m certain that every circumstance may be different, but my suspicion is that technology remains a fairly foreign enigma to chief executives. They certainly appreciate the value that the software brings to the company, but they are trusting that the investment advice they receive from their CIO has been fully vetted and can tangibly show the desired ROI.

That’s part of the mystery of technology… it is easy to fog the mirror with jargon and seemingly compelling rationale. And there certainly are plenty of new shiny objects to chase. But the CEO should rely on the wisdom and experience that qualified them to earn their position. They must ask the tough questions and be aggressively diligent in determining that the current system is fatally doomed.

Otherwise, the only tangible benefit achieved will be the resume padding of the CIO.

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