When to cut bait on old IT

Someday you'll find a beloved product/service has fallen down on the job. Don't stick around out of loyalty -- pull the plug

If there's one constant to working in this business, it's that nothing stays the same. On the bright side, new solutions arrive on an almost daily basis -- but not all change is positive. If it hasn't happened to you already, chances are good that someday soon a solution you've depended upon for years will suddenly fail to keep up its end of the bargain.

That failure presents itself in a variety of ways. Sometimes it's a string of buggy software or firmware updates, a raft of inexplicable hardware failures, or a nosedive in the quality of tech support. One of the hardest things in IT is to know when an exisiting solution is past its prime -- and when it's worth trying something new in its place.

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If you've made up your mind to write the Dear John letter, you first must convince the bean counters it's prudent to abandon a solution you've invested in for years. The situation can get sticky if you lobbied heavily to implement that technology in the first place. Of course, this is simply how this industry works -- change arrives, not always for the better -- so avoiding such surprises can be difficult. Fortunately, there are clues that let you recognize the end is coming before you find yourself in a real pinch.

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