By: Crispin Luxton
While one might expect that only software vendors would care about software updates, it turns out that many high-tech manufacturers and enterprises are also in the software business today. In fact, many high-tech manufacturers provide customers with software add-ons or embedded software in hardware products. And, many enterprises develop custom applications for use by internal staff and independent dealers or distributors. In all these cases, there's a growing need to manage the development, delivery and support of software on a regular basis.
In today's relentlessly changing business environment, software has to be updated constantly…
- Features have to be added to address evolving needs
- Fixes have to be provided to resolve quality and security issues
- Updates to your software may also be required because of how other vendors have upgraded the other "moving parts" in the IT environment
Many software vendors, high-tech manufacturers and enterprises view software updates as an after-thought. But, in a business environment that is becoming increasingly dependent on software applications and devices with embedded software, the need to quickly and accurately deliver new capabilities in a cost effective, low-touch manner is critical to delivering an exceptional customer, partner and employee experience. The consequences of an inadequate software update process can include:
- Dissatisfied customers – if your software updates are too intrusive, too frequent, don't work properly, or aren't properly supported, your customers can quickly become dissatisfied.
- Reduced profits – the more software versions you have in your installed base, the greater your development, delivery and support costs.
- Lost market share – Companies compete with each other based on their performance across the entire spectrum of value attributes. If your organization can quickly and cost-efficiently roll out updates that are well-aligned with the changing needs of your customers, partners and/or users—and do so consistently—you will gain a sustainable competitive advantage over those that cannot.
- Increased risk exposure – problems with software updates can expose your organization to all kinds of business risks—such as interruptions of service, liability for customer business losses, erosion of brand value, and exposure of confidential information.
For these reasons and others, every organization should invest in the optimization of its software update process. Failure to eliminate any shortcomings in this process will almost certainly have an adverse impact on your top- and bottom-line business performance.
Next time: Why Is Software Updating Such a Challenge?