- Jessica Muir
Your Car Grows Old... So Does Your Software
There are many aspects of our existence and environment that tire with age.
We buy some things and rationally cope with the fact that they grow old and will need to be replaced.
Think of your motor vehicle. Think of your clothing.
Some things we buy in the full knowledge that we will need to plan to upgrade them within a period of time.
Think of your mobile phone or your computer.
Even if we plan for a long term renewal program (i.e., maybe you buy that car with a 15 to 20 year view), we also buy that car knowing full well it requires maintenance.
Sometimes we upgrade our car because we like the new funky features, sometimes we upgrade (or even just replace) because the old one breaks.
We are in an era where software is the same. We are in an era where our business systems are the same. Not only is technology better today, but old technology simply will not work!
For instance, dial-up-internet services: Telstra turned their service off in 2015, and Optus have now turned off theirs. Times change; technology changes. It is more expensive to use and run old technology. If you use a dial-up modem then there is no option but to upgrade.
Our business environment is influenced by technology, and the expectations of other businesses and regulator requirements. The banks want you to interact efficiently. Government prefers digital. Other businesses want your communication quickly.
Is it reasonable to expect that our old software, built to meet the expectations of 10 years ago, will just keep on working? Is it reasonable for us to expect a product we bought a few years ago for a one-off price (i.e. a software package) should be continually modified and upgraded by that company for no further fee?
Unfortunately, there are many factors that mean our computers, our technology, our programs, and our internet services have to be modernised. They have to be upgraded. There are too many hacks and internet scams imposed on old systems where the security has not been updated. Crooks exist!
For better or worse, we conduct our businesses in a regulated world. The regulators seek to regulate in the most efficient manner, and therefore seek information in the most efficient manner. Our laws change to impose requirements on us in order to “enable” a level playing field for all businesses. Today in Australia we typically see that this implies a new way of doing business, and a new way of providing information to the Regulator.
We need to upgrade our approach to do business efficiently and effectively in today's environment.
We need to upgrade our systems to enable efficient business process, but also efficient compliance with the requirements of being in a regulated environment.
We need to use up-to-date software and systems – This means we need to pay for either upgrades to our software, or for an ongoing maintenance and development program.
Is it a reasonable expectation that business will incur some cost to keep its business software systems up-to-date? We would propose that it is.
…It is then a case of evaluating what you are paying for and why.
Too many subscriptions keep getting paid when you don't even use the service anymore.
Some software doesn't develop, but the cost of changing to more efficient software is too high.
Does your car grow old and need money spent on it? Yes.
Does your business system grow old and need money spent on it? Yes.
Do the rules and regulations around us doing business in our world change and require new techniques? Yes.
Does a business need to spend money on its systems, and keeping its systems and compliance knowledge up-to-date? Yes.