By Joe Rafanelli | December 13th, 2019 |
As a Technical Account Manager, I deal with many clients who struggle with the decision to either migrate from a legacy platforms (e.g.. VFP, VB6 or ASP classic) to a modern platform (e.g. C# .NET Web) or purchase an off-the-shelf solution. Time and money are often the only deciding factors on how to move forward. However, this is can be a bit short sited as there are many other factors to be considered. A Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) solution can appear cheaper and quicker to implement in the short term but often winds up costing your company more in the long run.
Consider the following factors:
- Training – Frequently legacy systems have been in existence over 20 years. Meaning employees are comfortable and efficient with the application. They process transactions, look up client information and run reports with ease. This saves considerable time which ultimately increase your bottom line.
- Licensing Fees – With a COTS solution typically licensing fees are paid upfront and kick-off during the implementation process. If you are implementing an on-premises solution – after the initial license is paid, you will also pay annual maintenance fee (typically 20 – 25 % of the software license) for upgrades and some level of support. All of these fees impact your bottom line making this decision complex and confusing.
- Process Compatibility – A COTS solution is designed as a one size fits all product. Meaning it is unlikely to fit all your business needs and required functionality from the start. Adding the required business process to a COTS product is costly and time consuming. By the time clients complete this phase, they find it would have been better to stick with their existing application.
- Turnaround Time – System usability and functionality can be achieved quicker with a COTS approach. Which makes sense since this is typically a one size fits all solution. However, depending on your business, this speed may not help if your business process needs are not met. This could negativity impact the user experience and ultimately affect your bottom line. Careful consideration of your business needs vs how soon they are required, will need be to be analyzed and vetted.
- System Support – There will be times when mistakes are made with the data or systems bugs occur and support will be required. When buying a COTS solution, you will either have to pay for a fast tier (e.g. level 3) support or will have to wait (until the next commercial release) for a vendor to resolve your problem. This coupled with not owning the source code (you can’t fix the problem in-house) can cripple your business depending on severity.
- Product Roadmap – Most functional enhancements starts with a good idea generated from a client and the execution of it within the software. With an off the shelf solution, the vendor may be receptive to your idea and willing to implement it. However, this is only if they think it’s in-line with their wider market sector. Even if your idea is in the pipeline, it often takes months even years before you see results.
From my experience, working with numerous clients and from a Technical Account Manager perspective, making the decision to migrate verses selecting an off-the-shelf product, should be done after an in-depth due diligence of research and consideration of both current and future business needs. Also ensuring every stakeholder is on board with the choice is just as important. An experienced migration partner will help to ensure a seamless migration of your legacy application, keeping zero downtime without any business disruption. A migration can seem like a complicated business – but it’s one that’s made much more comfortable if the right strategy and planning is done in the initial phase. Macrosoft’s migration experts can assist you and your business in making the right choice for your business-critical legacy application.
To learn more about Macrosoft and how we can help, please either visit our website at www.macrosoftinc.com or give Joe Rafanelli a call at (973) 889 – 0500 ext. 1253