Software applications can become obsolete overtime and no longer supportable - they become an orphan. This can result in a very risky situation for organizations that rely on its continued performance. Should the application become unreliable or fail to function, there is no alternative, in most cases, but to fall back to a manual, paper based process.

Here are common examples of how this situation can occur and why:

  1. Vendor no longer supports the software. Vendors make every effort to keep their customers paying for new releases and encourage the installation. At some point, too few customers will be using older releases. It is not cost effective for the vendor to provide bug fixes and troubleshooting, hence stopping both new releases and support. Custom engineering help may be available, but it is expensive and limited.
  2. Vendor no longer exists or your company stopped paying for support & new releases. If the vendor still exists, it may be possible to either pay for all the lapsed support or (as above) pay for custom engineering effort. Either can be slow and expensive.
  3. Vendor offers a new product. Occasionally, a vendor will create a new application and stops supporting the product you purchased. Unfortunately, if the software license does not give you a license to the new product, your company may need to not only purchase the new product but also spend money on a new implementation.
  4. The application is a custom program. Whether internally built or from an external development company, there are the further risks of inadequate or non-existent trained staff to solve your issue. In most cases, there is not only little documentation but, if available, support will be custom and expensive.
  5. It might be infrastructure related. Software is tested to operate on definable configurations of hardware, databases and operating systems. If, for example, Oracle or Microsoft stop supporting the database or operating system version for which your application was built, you may have no choice but to upgrade to latest software release. If it is a custom application, it will either be very expensive or not possible to continue usage of the software. New servers may also be needed, as the type of server required for the older version is no longer available for purchase.

What are your options?

There are four choices, several not desirable:

  1. Stay put and take the risk of a system failure,
  2. Fall back to a manual/Excel based system.  (See the article – “Have you outgrown Excel for Calibration Management?”),
  3. Bite the bullet and upgrade to the vendor’s latest version or
  4. Replace with a modern system

Why replace with a modern system?

Modern, Cloud based applications address many of the limitations of legacy systems while providing greater capabilities. A leading provider’s application will:

  • Always on the latest version – the vendor routinely upgrades all customer instances with the latest release as part of the subscription,
  • Never need to worry about infrastructure – also part of the subscription is compliance with the supported operating systems, databases, servers, cybersecurity, etc.,
  • Always be available from a web browser on any device,
  • Have scheduled, frequent database backups,
  • Be easy to setup and modify to support your changing business needs.
  • Cost less upfront than an on-premise system,
  • Offer only what is needed now with scope to grow.

It is very likely for the cost of upgrading to your current vendor’s version, a company can acquire a subscription to a Cloud application. Not only does your company gain the benefits of the new system, but reliability and business continuity are dramatically improved.

Summary

Struggling with an orphaned application is not only frustrating but a significant compliance and operational risk.  However, considering the possible lost productivity, short and long term risks and difficulty in timely reporting and analysis, your company may greatly benefit by investing in a modern Calibration Management tool. Reputable vendors can help you and your company assess if the time is right to make the move. You can learn more about how CompuCal Solutions has helped companies improve their calibration management here: CompuCal Solutions