How most customers get the digital platform upgrade painfully wrong

Janus Boye
May 20, 2016 · 3 min read

Whether you are upgrading your marketing technology, your digital workplace or something else in the crowd of vendors aiming for your digital budget, you are likely to be facing a long and costly project.

While buying the new big tool tends to get all the attention, the upgrade project that follows is a painful fact of life. These upgrades easily eat a significant portion of your budget while stalling your digital initiatives as your focus is diverted. It is time to change the game.

To finally solve this problem, make the decision to go from on-premise installed technology to the cloud. This will help you move ahead faster with digital transformation and free up resources for your organisation to achieve better results.

The real problem is how you buy technology

Today most organisations have experience procuring digital platforms, whether being a content management system, intranet platform or something else. Many have also learned their lessons with technology decisions and have been through a migration from one vendor to another, e.g. from some lesser known local vendor to Sitecore or from one open source vendor to say Drupal. Many J. Boye members have also completed major upgrades — e.g., from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2013 — that often almost feels like starting over.

The problem is that when you simply replace one on-premise technology with another, your attention is on the upgraded technology stack with bells and whistles. You waste time with deployment and maintenance. Analysts today still advice largely on feature fit and vendor vision. What happens is that this course starts a timer for the next costly upgrade project, usually 3–5 years down the road. Whether you like it or not, you get locked in.

There must be a better way than this spiral of technology procurement, implementation and upgrade that sooner or later brings you back to procurement. If you instead select a true cloud solution you escape this vicious circle. To quote the CIO in one of our large German member organisations, it is no longer a question of cloud or not, it is a question of when.

Are you ready to really embrace the cloud?

Cloud computing is really not a new thing any more, yet most of the established vendors, including those crowned by analyst firms, still take the approach that you install their software, typically at a hosting provider. That is not to say that the usual suspects don’t have an answer when you ask about cloud. Sadly though it often still locks you in the spiral offering little but cloud storage and clever marketing.

That’s really no surprise as most vendors creating solutions powering the websites of 2016 were originally designed and built on software architectures dating back over a decade.

More recently, we’ve heard of the “no code” approach taken by many organisations as they deploy Office 365.

This means implementing according to platform’s features and functionality without customised development, whilst accepting the pros and cons whenever a new version is rolled out. It also means that you remove deployment and maintenance from the upgrades. You don’t need to worry about upgrading any more, except dealing with the change management and the introduction of new features and improvements.

This same trend needs to happen outside the firewall for digital marketing initiatives.

Learn more about how digital is changing

Janus Boye

Written by

Founder of Boye & Company, an international leadership community