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Should I stay or should I go?

“Should I stay or should I go…”

Software (SW) is the backbone of your business. It helps make you profitable and differentiates you from your competition. Yet sometimes it may be taken for granted. IT is currently faced with the prospect of branching out into the cloud, evaluating systems and understanding how they might operate. But what do you do about your bread and butter applications? When is the last time you reviewed your application stack and made some hard decisions? Apps have lived comfortably (or so you thought) for many years like your teenage child, basking in the glory of your eternal support. But now is the time for each application to ask itself the following question:  “Should I stay or should I go…”

“I’ll be here till the end of time…”

Well, software comes in a variety of flavors – running the spectrum from homegrown to “commercial off the shelf/COTs” and anywhere in between. The value of the software must be analyzed within your organization, along with the costs to run it. Think about the following criteria when you evaluate: Is this SW core to my business and drives profit? What does it cost me to operate per year and is my organization committed to supporting it? How much control do I really need over this SW for it to be effective for my company?

“One day is fine and next is black…”
The good old days are long gone. The CIO is making complex decisions that prove he understands the cost of all his related businesses and partnerships. And the resultant architecture employed is quickly becoming a mixture of internal and external opportunity – better known now as “On Premise,” “Off Premise” and “Federated” Cloud. And how you factor in the amalgamation of packaged and home grown applications is varied.

“This indecision’s bugging me…”
Let’s take that ERP application. The SW has been modified from the original implementation but the HW cost is what’s killing you. This cost might best be absorbed by a managed hosted site where you still have control over how you implement the SW. Email on the other hand is basic plumbing that you just don’t want to invest in. Perhaps a formal service provider can best provide your organization the email and collaboration suites you need while not dragging down your resources and liberating people for more important business creativity and development.

“If you don’t want me set me free…”
Now don’t forget about your own legacy applications. Do you have a homegrown app (or two) built many years ago that is just hanging around soaking up resources and support costs? Perhaps there are multiple versions or implementations from company mergers. Maybe you need to move it out and replace it with an off the shelf package. The pain in the short term will pay off in the long run. Less development on your part and newer feature rich options may inject a new passion into the organization. And just maybe you can burst across data centers as needed.

“Exactly who I’m supposed to be…”
So figure out who and what your applications mean to you. And map each application as to whether you should own them, run them, and provide for them with your own people, equipment and data centers or some mixed implementation within the cloud stratosphere. Because at the end of the day, every application will whisper in your ear “You gotta let me know, should I stay or should I go?”

Do you remember?
Recognition to The Clash – Should I Stay or Should I Go – 1982 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVqrNsvrVQ8

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