Contingency plans are becoming increasingly important
It is important that companies have contingency plans that allow them to find alternative services and to move their processes and data to them in a very short timeframe. These plans need to be capable of being implemented at very short notice. Having alternative suppliers has always been important, but this has been amplified by the Internet, where services can be brought online quickly and equally quickly can become business critical. Its unlikely that the IT function will be able to halt the viral adoption of new services, but this makes the task of contingency planning even more important.
Traditionally, software products had a lifespan of around seven years before a particular version of a product was put into an end of life category and customers were asked to migrate to newer versions or to pay enhanced fees for support. Of course, the longevity of products varies by category but the principles are the same. If the customer did not want to continue their relationship with that software supplier there was generally enough time to make arrangements with alternative suppliers and migrate to them, without being under undue commercial pressure i.e. the vendors did not have the upper hand.
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