Monday, June 07, 2010

The cost of inaction

One of my first cars was an old clunker. After a few years of driving, it needed repairs with increased frequency. I had a choice: Do nothing and continue maintaining my old car, or replace it with a newer car.

I chose the latter. While purchasing a newer car was more expensive up front, the year-to-year cost of maintenance substantially declined. Besides, the newer car also gave me better gas mileage and functionality, and reduced my chances of breaking down on the road.

I mention this story because it ties in nicely with a common business situation. Many companies are run on outdated applications. Rather than replace them with new modern applications, they choose to do nothing. They believe modernization is too expensive and time consuming.

While I would argue with that assertion, I believe the real question is this: What is the cost of standing still? The answer: Surprisingly steep. Here’s how standing still costs a business:

1. Money: Older applications are more difficult to maintain and generally require more resources than current applications. Just as in the car example, new applications are more expensive up front, but year-to-year maintenance costs are much less.

2. Functionality: Outdated applications were designed to handle the needs specific to whenever they were created. Getting back to the car example, my old car got horrible mileage and lacked now standard features like air conditioning, CD players, and air bags. In like manner, old applications can’t support new functionality like smartphone access, Google maps integration, or modern security measures to name a few.

3. Productivity: Old applications simply aren’t as efficient as current applications. What may be a simple task today could take 5 times as long if completed on an outdated application. As such, IT turnaround time is slow and the business operates slower than it should. Additionally, outdated applications don’t integrate easily with other applications or systems. This may lead to data re-entry or other inefficient processes.

4. Growth: There comes a point when you can’t possible tweak and patch up an old system any longer, and it hinders your company’s ability to grow. The company’s needs have changed and your old applications simply cannot evolve to meet the current demands.

If your company is currently holding off on modernizing because of time or money, let us know. We provide the tools to modernize your applications quickly and cost-effectively, the training to get you started right away, and the consultants to guide you through the process. Just fill out this short form to get started.


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