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« CMFCollectorNG
» Letting it go

Licenses or Support?

In this economy, one should think about what provides most value for the money.

Economy is getting normal - I wouldn’t say down, because I used to strongly believe that .com days were hugely abnormal. These days, people have no choice other than to see whether they are getting their money’s worth. In October, I noted down my thoughts on what makes IT drain money.

Most of the IT money one spends goes into three categories, viz., compensation, licenses and support. I’ve not yet thought on compensation, though this is usually the biggest part. Licenses and support costs can be huge if you are not thoughtful enough.

Are you paying a one time fee for the licenses?
Many vendors are switching to a subscription fee based structure. I’m not sure this is advantageous to the customer, unless it comes with support and upgrade deals.
Is there a sunset clause on this software?
Sunset clause forbids you from using the software after the sunset date. This forces you to buy newer versions from the vendor, even if you don’t need it. Avoid such software.
How much does vendor or third party support cost?
This is a big money sink. I’ve seen organizations where they have full-time employees that log technical issues and then wait for vendor’s support. Instead of spending money twice and wasting waiting time, hire competent employees who can solve problems on their own.
Are you willing to adopt your business to the solution?
Most vendors make generic solutions that fit many customers. If you vendor makes solution only for you, that is not good!. But can your organization adapt to the solution? Customizing a solution to satisfy never-ending change requests is a sure way to throw away your money.
Are there other solutions out there that are free and open-source?
In most cases, you’ll anyway have employees to take care of the solution. Like I said before, why pay for them and then for vendor support? Pay little extra, get competent people who can read, understand and modify the source! Like it or not, you’ll have lot of customization requests, and there is only so much you can get from the vendor.

Shane McChesney has a very good article on how firms that rely on licensing revenues are faring poorly. It is right on the point. Who wants to pay tons of money to buy a system and then continue paying money to use the damn thing?

Newsforge: Tracking Tux. Apparently, the firms that make money by telling you how to run your business are also getting into open source.

Bloor Research crosses the aisle and declares Linux enterprise-ready. META Group sees signs of changing tides in data center operating system dominance. The Linux-mainframe marriage makes sense with planning according to D.H. Brown and Giga, while Illuminata suggests maybe you shouldn’t care. Aberdeen Group finds that infosec attacks leveled the playing field among operating system targets in 2002 and urges suppliers and users to replace outdated defense strategies. Gartner says lack of user demand has slowed distro adoption of available Linux security enhancements.

If it is your money, your company you really believe in, the notes above should be obvious. For career managers, well, “No one got fired for choosing IBM” is probably the best mantra.