Upgrade or Rip-and-Replace?

Five Things to Consider

Joe Madden, President and Founder of Greenlight Group

The Information Technology universe is one that is exciting and filled with constant progress and transformations. Within this ever-changing industry, it is vital for companies to make sure they are getting more value from their current solutions than they are investing. One of the many technology dilemmas enterprises face today is whether to invest in new software solutions or renovate and enhance their current solution.

The types of themes we see organizations evaluating are the need to have a change management process that is fully auditable to help with their business requirements, or to comply with governmental or business-level audits. There is the currently important Digital Transformation movement.  

In GreenLight’s experience, we have seen two types of major software overhauls. One instance we have witnessed is when a company gets new management.  They choose to either replace the current infrastructure based on their brand preferences and their expectations, or they were hired to implement a company-preferred mandate. The other example we have observed is a more value-driven method. In this process, enterprises evaluate what they have, their specifications, and whether the current solution and vendor are meeting those requirements.

At the end of the day, the question businesses need to ask themselves is, “Is the solution I’m currently using working for me?”

If the answer to that question is no, the next step is to evaluate the existing resources and either make investments to replace the system or make improvements.

Some key aspects to consider in evaluating a system include:

  1. Motivation for Changing - Historically, we have witnessed large corporations stick to an on-premises solution and upgrade their current system instead of replacing the solution.  Conversely, startups do not typically have an on-premises solution and are more likely to replace their system because they operate with a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform. However, this has not necessarily been the case in recent years. Large corporations typically have a legacy infrastructure that is anywhere from 20 to 40 years old, and the market is driving them to realize the old approaches are no longer working. Because of this change, we have seen SaaS vendors such as Salesforce and ServiceNow be adopted and grow significantly.
  2. System Functionality - The challenge that exists with both large corporations and startups is driving business value with their software solution and figuring out the core competencies. When we evaluate our customers’ needs with our managed service practice, we look at the business’s core competency to complete daily care of their environment, such as a network management solution, helpdesk solution, or an asset management solution. With the growth of our own business, we are finding that customers are starting to realize that their core competencies are not what they originally thought, and they want to change their approach to a solution.
  3. Cost and Value - Deciding whether to make the investment for a new software solution or to renovate and enhance a current solution, affects enterprises across all industries. We have seen many customers tempted by brand-new software and evaluate the time and costs of it without realizing that they could have gotten a few more years out of the system they currently operate.  The answer to this predicament is no different than deciding whether to purchase a new car in your personal life-- at what point does the severity and frequency of maintenance make it more compelling and economical to buy a new car? There is a basic value question in this situation, which is, “Am I getting more value out of the solution than I currently pay?” The answer cannot simply be about saving money, because your organization could be forced to face the more complex issues of managing and maintaining the solution, the costs to replace parts of the solution, and finding talent who know how to run the system properly.
  4. Vendor Relationships - One of the things that the SaaS industry has produced, and that has been very compelling to our customers, is this approach of “simple to deal with”. SaaS companies rent the software and they understand what their explicit costs are going to be before they implement the solution for their customer. SaaS vendors also understand the complexity of installing the software and making sure it gets configured correctly. Many of our customers have mentioned that they really value SaaS due to the day-to-day maintenance and the uptime, performance, availability, and upgrade cycle are implemented in a timely manner. It is vital to partner with a vendor that is going to meet your explicit needs and will be flexible enough to deliver the value that your organization requires in a way that makes sense for all parties.
  5. IT Resources - One element we have recognized in organizations is the challenge of old tech versus young hires. In the IT domain, we have an aging population, and we are seeing that many young hires are not as familiar and competent with legacy applications such as mainframe systems. Many organizations face this recruiting challenge of getting new hires onboarded and proficient in legacy applications. Many new college graduates prefer working on modern and innovative software and typically are not as interested in working with old and dying technology. We have seen this affect the decisions our own customers have made when determining if they should update their existing tool or completely replace the application.
At GreenLight Group, our managed services objective is to ease the burden off enterprises, especially around IT.

GreenLight brings decades of experience, runs 24/7, and delivers SLA’s on solutions such as service management. Our goal is to ensure that our customers realize the value of the investments they have made and to understand that they are not on their own. In the last 20 years, we have had customers that had employees with a wide range of duties such as SharePoint administrators, Exchange administrators, CRM administrators, and IT monitoring tool administrators.

After our GreenLight IT Operations Service (GITOpS) was implemented, these administrators no longer had to spend half of the year doing upgrades or patches.

They are now able to focus and spend time delivering more value-added functions to their customers.

We also have a large portfolio of clients across many different industries that allows us to implement different approaches and solve a variety of problems. GreenLight Group helps companies determine the true costs and efforts between upgrading or replacing an existing solution. We can leverage these solutions to support other customers and help them realize a quicker time to value, make change management more efficient, and improve enhancement request cycles more quickly. As a result, our clients get more hours out of the day to be productive and drive value to their customers. GreenLight Group’s managed services business can help you evaluate this question for your organization. We will evaluate and define your requirements, create an accurate understanding of what it would take to keep your current system running, and determine the best path forward.

Our IT operations management specialists are eager to answer any questions you may have. Submit your request below for a 30-minuteconsultation today.

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