[clug-talk] Suggestions?

Trever Miller trever at cyberdex.ca
Wed Mar 23 07:53:00 PST 2005


Dwayne C. Litzenberger wrote:
[...]
> Let's say that you rely on Program X to carry out your day-to-day 
> business.  Now assume that something about your business changes, and 
> Program X no longer does exactly what you need it to do.  You need to 

[but it does do at least some portion of what you need it to do]

> change the way Program X functions.  If your supplier for Program X 
> anticipated your needs, then the cost of making the change is relatively 
> small, since you only need to change Program X's configuration.  But 
> what if Program X doesn't already have the ability to do what you want?  
> You need a custom change.  How much will that cost?
> 
> If Program X is proprietary software, the cost of changing it depends on 
> the program's vendor.  If the vendor cooperates with you to get you the 
> changes you need in a reasonable amount of time at a reasonable cost, 
> then your costs are relatively little.  However, if the vendor does not 
> cooperate -- such as if they demand that you first "upgrade" to Program 
> Y (which requires new hardware, a new proprietary operating system, etc) 
> or if you are simply too small for them to care about your specific 
> needs -- then the cost of changing Program X skyrockets: You have to 
> hire one or more expensive genius-programmers to reverse-engineer 
> Program X and implement your changes, or you have to hire someone to 
> re-implement large portions of Program X from scratch, or maybe you just 
> can't afford it and you go out of business.

A little extreme. Businesses generally don't take kindly to scare
tactics. Also, many places will think nothing of paying their wage slave
employees to do a bit of constantly reoccuring manual grunt work to make
their business process work. So what if the program only does 80% of
what they would really like it to do... they'll get by with that 80% and
a bit of paper shuffling or manual data diddling in excel or whatever.

They rarely get 100% utilization out of their employees anyways, or so 
their thinking goes.   They'd also rather spend a small portion of $ on 
a regular basis on direct expenses (salary) than on big hits up front on 
capital expenditures which require at a minimum 3 years to write off 
hardware, and in some cases a bit less for software.  This is why 
there's lots of places running Win9x still, believe it or not.

On the other hand, if they can't get by with a static it infrastructure 
or off-the-shelf stuff and need something with ongoing support and 
customizations, if you can give them the hardware and software on a 
leased basis, so that it becomes a monthly reoccuring direct expense 
that they can write off immediately, they are more likely to gravitate 
towards it.

It's all about the $.  Businesses mostly don't care about freedom or 
anything else unless it hits them in the pocket book.   Here is where 
you can leverage some verbage about open document formats (and therefore 
not being locked into vendor office suite upgrade cycles for instance...).

I'm rambling.  Back later when I've had my morning coffee fix.

-- 
trever at cyberdex.ca
Cyberdex Systems Consulting Corp.
(403) 607-4925



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