I was talking to a friend today who got me on another rant -- so here goes.
The topic this time was how vendors sucker you in with cheap prices and then stick it to you on the upgrade. That's kind of a harsh way to put it, but it's accurate. Software vendors are like drug dealers. They have to get you hooked first, then they can charge whatever they like because you can't live without them.
I don't think it's right to name the three specific products we were talking about. Let me say that our company got a good deal initially, but now we're several versions behind on some of them because we can't afford the upgrade. And the only problem is that we can't move to a new platform because like I said, our entire business depends on these packages. So the longer we wait, the harder and more expensive an upgrade is going to be, and at this point a conversion is going to be expensive as well.
So what's the solution? Well, in our case, SQL Server has a couple offerings that are not only a lot cheaper, but in some cases included in our SQL Server licenses. This is a case where the license is basically free, and we would be able to upgrade for free as well. With these other products, we only get deeper and deeper into licensing costs, and with the Microsoft solution, we're guaranteed to eliminate the cost of these solutions. I've not only been preaching these solutions for over two years at this job, but for years at other jobs as well. And the reason is that I've seen it too many times where a company makes a good deal on a solution and winds up getting the short stick two years down the road. And I just wish I could get companies to listen before it it's too late.
In this economy, you really can't afford to be blowing tons of money on license upgrades. A lot of companies are starting to really look at their policies on software purchasing, but what can they do? They've locked themselves into expensive solutions that are hard to get out of.
And one of the reasons it's hard to get our of these solutions is that a LOT of these large companies refuse to organize themselves. Many of them allow their different divisions, offices, regions, etc. to make whatever decisions they like. So you get one group using SRS, another using BOE, etc. Under this model, nobody is purchasing enough to be able to negotiate a good deal. Not only that, but if someone can't afford to upgrade and switches to a new platform, the vendor doesn't really care because they've still got the rest of the company as a customer.