As IBM software reaches end of warranty, the software asset manager and the CTO face a significant strategic decision. Do they take the OEM-defined route and carry out a platform upgrade, or do they take a different direction?
Reducing costs is paramount
Despite being critical to business operations, the IT department is under constant pressure to reduce costs. IBM’s plan to push you towards an upgrade is also financially motivated, encouraging your business to spend more on new licenses, maintenance contracts, and possibly even hardware to support the updated application.
Keen to avoid increased spend, many CTOs swing to the opposite end of the spectrum, investigating the use of Open Source alternatives. With minimal or no license costs and the potential to re-use existing hardware platforms, Open Source technologies sound the like the answer to a cash-strapped CTO’s prayers.
Cutting through the Open Source license comparison hype
The almost-free license costs of Open Source can blind finance-obsessed C-Suite executives who see an opportunity to slash costs immediately. The headline savings mask some significant secondary costs however that need to be considered more carefully.
New deployment costs
Every new software project incurs costs, from external consultancy fees, to the time spent by the in-house IT team as the plan, implement and manage the application. Indeed, the internal resources diverted to these deployment projects are resources that must be diverted from other tasks, potentially affecting other line-of-business operations.
As the new application takes over from the incumbent IBM platform, there will need to be a period of coexistence and migration. This means a cash outlay on running the two systems simultaneously, extracting and transforming data for import into the new platform and potentially keeping the now-redundant system online, to access legacy data, or as a back-up as the new system “beds in”.
No matter how much training you give employees in advance, there will always be a drop in productivity as people adjust to the new workflows and processes. Even if you manage to completely replicate existing workflows, a basic change in user interface layout could have a major effect on output.
The lag between deployment and employee familiarity will add to the overall cost of the project, even if this additional spend is not immediately obvious to the CFO.
The road less travelled - a third option
The “free” price tag attached to Open Source software can blind the SAM to a third option – doing nothing. In most cases, your IBM software continues to function perfectly – after several years of tweaking and testing, the application is stable and reliable.
In fact, the only reason you’re even considering an upgrade is because IBM are withdrawing support for your application.
This is where third party support can help. By leaving IBM you get to keep your existing set-up and reduce your maintenance costs. Suddenly the switch to “free” software looks a lot less attractive. Sticking with the systems you and your employees know avoids new deployment costs, migration costs and any drop in productivity – the only changes take place at the administrative level with no knock-on effect on your operations.
With this in mind there is no Open Source license comparison – third party maintenance is the smartest option for your business, especially as you try to drive your costs lower.
To learn more about third party IBM software maintenance and how Origina can help, please get in touch.