People like to hang onto old software. They are comfortable with their software, they know how it works, they know the shortcuts and they don’t really want to change simply because “it’s new.”
Who can blame them? They have work to do, and learning new software may seem like extra work.
On one hand:
- Employees feel their software works well enough to get the job done.
- Management doesn't want to invest money in unneeded, new software.
- Employees resist changing current processes.
On the other hand:
- New software is generally more reliable.
- New software is more resistant to security breaches.
- New software has new features that could improve employee productivity.
1. Don't be Afraid to Experiment
It may seem counterintuitive that people’s resistance to new software is part of the lifecycle of your IT software, but it really is one of the most significant obstacles. If your employees don’t like the new software and resist using it, all of the time you spent installing it, and all the money you spent investing in it can be less effective than you would hope.
You can, of course, train people to use new software. If sitting in a classroom while a trainer lectures about each feature of the new software does not appeal to your people, consider letting them experiment or 'play' with it. Like test driving a new car, let people try it out first. Let them kick the tires. Let them bring in some of their projects and see if the new software helps them get things done. They'll likely realize that this really is better than the old application.
You can also benefit by identifying the early adopters in each work group. These are the techies sprinkled throughout your organization who are intrinsically attracted to new technology. Let them become familiar with the new software first. They will help, department by department, to win over other more stubborn employees.
2. Vanishing Support
As software gets old, the ability to support it becomes more difficult. With server hardware, the manufacturer just stops making replacement parts after about 5 years. With software, in three to five years, it becomes more expensive to support as it gets older. Or worse, you can stop getting any support from the software company.
3. Software Turnover
In past blogs, I've talked about replacing servers every three-to-five years in a phased approach; budget for replacement of one-third of your hardware every year so you don’t get hit with a massive bill all at once. The same goes for software. We know Microsoft Windows tends to change every two years, but most other software can be replaced using a phased approach. With Windows, your organization might want to skip a version or two to keep your phased approach in place.
Don’t get in a position where you have software that’s so old it can't be fixed cost-effectively. Learn more about how we can help you stay up-to-date on your company's IT lifecycle management.