I wrote up a post last week about avoiding software purchase failure. A commenter on that post made a great point: Software failure is sometimes caused by planned obsolescence–the deliberate planning of a product with limited useful life.
In other words, many software vendors realize that it’s in their best interest to create software that only stays relevant for a few years. If they create software that’s good enough to buy, but not good enough to last 10 years, you’ll buy more software and they’ll make more money.
While this is a great plan for the vendor, it’s a colossal waste of time and money for their customers. Think about it: Every new business software purchase is a large undertaking. First, you must buy the software. Then you must install it. Then every user must learn how to use it. This process not only wastes lots of money, it usually leads to weeks of lost productivity.
The worst part about this whole problem: It’s completely unnecessary. There’s no reason software should be obsolete in 2 years. There’s no reason software should be obsolete in 5 years. These days, software vendors can very easily push upgrades out to all their customers on a regular basis. In today’s ultra-connected world, software should be like a living, breathing organism that constantly adapts to changing tech trends and advancements.
Now, while I can decry the practice of planned obsolescence all day, it ultimately comes down to the software buyer. The buyer should know, before they purchase, if the software will be obsolete in a couple years. Just ask the vendor about their maintenance and upgrade schedule before you buy. Remember, maintenance fees should include upgrades.
Do you think planned obsolescence in business software is a problem today? I do. In my opinion, business software should not only be current 5 years down the road, it should be better than it was the day you bought it. However, when we get right down to the basics, planned obsolescence only happens because buyers let it. My advice to you: Know what kind of software and upgrade schedule you’re purchasing before you buy. If you do, you’ll save a lot of time and money in the long run.