Your System – Not Guilty As Charged

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Case #2010-0901 – Have You Paid for a New System Twice Over?

Posted by Joel Schipper on September 2, 2010


This example of “Your System – Not Guilty as Charged” stands in opposition to the previous one (#2010-0801) because in this case potential upgrades were bypassed for about ten years, until a crisis arose.

In this case, the CEO of the company discovered a hot new business opportunity that required a set of software functions that the existing enterprise system could not handle.  Complicating the situation, this  new opportunity was also not directly handled by any newer features available from any of the upgrade releases available since the original implementation release taken by this company.

The dilemma now was that (1) the “old” system can’t handle the newly desired processes, and (2) by itself, an upgrade wouldn’t solve the problem.  So, IT had a crisis decision on their hands.  They could (1) rush to buy a 3rd party bolt-on to the “old” system to handle the new requirements, or they could (2) delay the CEO’s request and perform an upgrade – covering ten years of releases – before adding on that 3rd party product, which had a “standards based” integration with the current (upgraded) release of the company’s enterprise software system.

The positive side of doing the delay and getting the upgrade would be that much newer technologies available at the upgrade release level would make the 3rd party integration a much smoother, easier, and less costly process, while at the same time providing a stronger functional baseline across for future benefits in all areas of the business.  The downside of rushing the purchase of the 3rd party system without doing the upgrade would not only be a more difficult and costlier set of integration programs, but that this work would add to the cost of any future upgrade.

The result was an unnecessary and very unpleasant dilemma for the chief IT officer.  The resolution, in my opinion, resembled a kind of “hari kari” when IT found an entirely different enterprise system that offered a pre-integrated “partner” solution for the new business process desired by the CEO.  The result was the purchase of an entirely different enterprise system, creating an entirely new set of training costs and learning curves for the business users and IT staff, and essentially “torching” ten years of support payments.

What’s your opinion on the guilt of the old system?

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