Sunsets... great for romance, not so great for software. To “sunset” something means it’s coming to an end, and specifically a “sunsetting” software is a common term used in our industry to describe a software product that is no longer being developed.
As you’re reading this, think about one of your common customer service workflows. A simple example would be the customer intake process. Collecting contact information, checking insurance coverage, paperwork, paperwork and more paperwork. On a daily or even monthly basis that process rarely changes; which is why providers can usually coast on sunsetting software for a while.
Experienced software implementations project manager Kevin Dobiesz shares,
“Legacy software systems often have a cult-like following; but transitioning to new software can have a profound impact on the user group as a whole. There is usually a well-intentioned idea from leadership to slowly migrate into new software in an attempt to mitigate the shock to users. However, in my experience this rarely works because the staff will continue to use the legacy system as a crutch. Make the change, and don’t look back.”
One of the dangers of coasting along with your hands off the handlebars is that eventually you’ll hit a pothole (well in Michigan anyway).
Inevitably, one unassuming Tuesday morning your office will come to grinding halt. Your software will essentially knock your business off its bike and skin your knee. A bug. A negative audit response that forces you to change the process. A new regulation that you need to comply with. What’s worse than making a large purchase decision? Doing it while you’re bleeding.
Seasoned HME and Home Infusion software rep Fred Lang shares,
“I’ve met clients who are STILL paying maintenance AND seeing an annual support cost increase of 6% for a product that is no longer developing functionality.” Lang continues, “over the past 5 years the trend has been mergers. We’ve seen almost every software sell out or merge with another, which means not only is your former software vendor not developing the software you’ve already invested in, but they start asking you to double down by investing into their new solution.”
What you already know is that there’s unknown trouble on the horizon. What we’re saying is don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll always be able to see the horizon, or judge how far away it is. Being stuck in the dark with a costly investment decision is not the place you want to be.
Visit our blog next week where I’ll reveal the toughest (but BEST) questions Software Shoppers and Software Consultants ask when considering a purchase!
-by Lisa Anderson