The shifting sides of IT solution provision
I was not surprised to see Microsoft’s admission that developing new features for the Mobile version of Windows 10 was “no longer a focus” this but it is a shame to see. I had a Windows phone for several years and found it to be very good. I moved back to iPhone when the iPhone 7 came out as several “silver bullet” apps which I used which were removed from the Windows 10 app store at about this time (and yes I wanted a iWatch …) and it was becoming more obvious that app vendors were not going to get on board with Windows 10.
The most frustrating thing I found with moving back to the iPhone was that the Microsoft Apps available on IOS were better than the Apps they provided on their own operating system so for me the writing has been on the wall for some time.
However, personal views aside, the most concerning issue for IT professionals is the seeming ease in which major technology companies can and will chop and change their strategy and offerings.
Whilst the decision in this case is an obvious one driven by the lack of market success (0.03% market penetration is a certain failure) there are occasions the reasonings are not so obvious.
Technologists are required to make future proofed mid to long-term decisions but yet again a technology giant has proven that you cannot rely on them to provide a mid to long-term solution.
The old adage used to be that “No one ever got fired for buying IBM” and to some extent that has also been the case with Microsoft for a business application viewpoint. However, Microsoft have had some bad press in recent years and have a growing reputation for creating and shortly afterwards “killing” new technology products (for example Silverlight). There is also an increasingly complex upgrade paths between versions of established platforms.
In the legal sector there are horror stories of law firms committing to new Practice Management Solutions only to be told that they would be made “end of life” shortly after the go-live.
The reality is there is no certainty in IT purchase decisions. Very few Vendors will commit to guaranteeing a product you buy now will be kept updated and relevant and their main offering for 3 years, never mind the 15 year life-cycle of a Practice Management Solution.
Technology is a shifting sand and major vendors will continue to behave in this way as the rush to consumerisation and cloudification of products intensifies.
We must make all purchase decisions with such challenges in mind. Yes be optimistic and enthused about the advantages that a new solution can bring but plan for the unexpected.
All contracts should be entered into with clear exit paths should the technology be discontinued. Should Vendors choose to “end-of life” an established solution they should be held accountable to provide roadmaps to novate, at reasonable and justifiable costs from the “end of lifed” solution to the new solution.
No one truly knows what technology will be available and be “normal” to us in the next decade but it is only right to expect change at an ever increasing pace. Microsoft will not be the only tech giant to create and drop solutions.
The challenge therefore is to ensure that such a change does not impede the business and that a product selection is made against and agreed and understood product roadmap/lifecycle and given the potential for unexpected and uncontrollable changes in vendor strategy that there is always a worst case exit strategy in place.