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06 Apr 2021 - GIM Suite – Technology, Business Management by Darren Valin

Is your mine software solution still supported?

How long do you stick with your software? And when do you know it’s time to move on? While nostalgia has its place, it’s unlikely you’re going to experience any retro cool vibes with your vendor-purchased software. In fact, once a software solution is no longer supported, you could find yourself stuck in a situation that’s not easy to escape.

Picture this – your vendor has informed you that the product you’ve been using for mission-critical projects is no longer a strategic part of their business. When this happens – and it’s not an unusual occurrence in the software industry – chances are the company has been making a minimal investment to keep it going but not investing in upgrades to architecture and the platforms it’s built on. Worse, they may be exiting out of your industry altogether.

The choice you have to make

At this point your choices might not feel all that welcome, especially if you’ve been limping along with the systems you have in place. You can:

  • Find another job or change careers
  • Find another vendor
  • Develop your own system
  • Head for the hills.

If you find yourself in this situation – and you’re up for the challenge – here’s what you can do to find a new vendor and ensure your next software investment is going to be supported and maintained for as long as you need it.

Focus on longevity, not just what’s good for right now

With the increasing speed of change in technology, most companies are realising in-house software is too large an investment, both to develop and to maintain over time. Unless you have an expert team in place and unlimited resources, moving to a vendor solution is going to make the most sense.

If you’re in the market for finding a new software solution to replace your old one or you’ve been advised your software is no longer being supported or they say it’s been deprecated, here are things to look for when choosing your next solution.

5 areas to investigate before purchasing new vendor software

  1. Maintenance and support – Your investment should include maintenance and support benefits. This is an indication the company is well-funded and the technology forms part of their strategic direction. In addition to having a customer support function, you should expect a vendor who is in it for the long run to have built a user community, a robust training schedule and many more value-add features, including news and useful resources.
  2. Technology road map – A vendor should be able to clearly outline the direction they plan to take with the software. This may include mergers or acquisitions, sale of the product to another company, or what is stated to be included in the next several releases. Technology partnerships are another important factor to show support of a technology road map.
  3. Reputation of the vendor – If you’re looking to make a long-term investment, make sure the vendor is positioned to work alongside you into the future. Good ways to measure this include how long they’ve been in business and how long the product has been in the market. Don’t be shy to ask for references for companies similar to yours or for documented case studies. Another indication of a reputable vendor is a mature partner network.
  4. Investment pattern – Have they been actively investing in their software, including updating the underlying code and architecture? Or are they simply in maintenance mode – fixing bugs and making small enhancements? Ask how much of their annual revenue is dedicated to R&D and make sure to ask specifically about the investment being made into the software you’re planning on buying.
  1. Upgrade frequency – How often has the company released upgrades during the past five years? Are the upgrades in functionality or simply to support new hardware or middleware requirements? In other words, is the software you’re considering a strategic part of their business growth or are they simply keeping a cash cow ready for milking?

If the vendor you’re considering can’t easily tick all these points, you could very well end up working with unsupported or deprecated software in the future. When comparing products on price, consider all that’s included when you purchase a software solution and consider how your business will benefit over time.

For more information

Find out more about GIM Suite by visiting our GIM Suite product page. We’ve been investing in GIM for 25 years and aren’t going anywhere. If you have any questions about data management, contact our team for requirements. We’ll point you in the right direction.

About the Author
Darren Valin

Darren is a professional Geologist with a background in the natural resources industry since 2002 including drilling, core description, sampling, core analysis, quality control and project management with an affinity for data acquisition and data management. His experience leading geology teams on mining projects combined with my technical knowledge allows me to understand the importance and cost of acquiring accurate, comprehensive and reliable geology data as well as how to properly and securely manage that information.

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