Most companies utilize numerous software programs in their environment to keep their business productive. In a pinch and with limited resources it can often be tempting to use solutions that may not be approved by your IT vendor or supported by a manufacturer (freeware, open source solutions, etc.) in order to save money or find a quick fix. However, as many people have learned from experience, (and often times through frustration) these kinds of shortcuts rarely pan out if the software isn’t handled by a trusted developer.
Software companies are careful to define their products as a collection of supported features. These features are heavily tested against expected uses, so when you use them in a way that the software company expects you to, they have a reasonable assurance that it will work as advertised.
Here’s why we encourage our clients, within reason, to invest a little more time and money into solutions that come from trusted sources, and why your business shouldn’t use unsupported software.
In general, when you run into problems with a program, the software company will only provide useful customer support if you are using the supported features of the software, and often only if you are paying them on a routine basis (yearly maintenance, for example). If you are using a solution that uses unsupported aspects of a software product, you are on your own to fix it.
Patching and Updates:
When a software product is released, it is typically used by thousands if not millions of users. The variety of this use is often much more comprehensive than their testing prior to release. It may take millions of hours of use to find an error, and when a software company finds an error they attempt to fix it. When they fix it they release an update sometimes referred to as a patch. This is why the first step most companies take when troubleshooting an issue is to install any uninstalled patches and reboot, by design this fixes most known issues.
The crux of this is that when developers are fixing features, software companies give themselves the flexibility to change anything that is not a feature. That is to say, they have the freedom to change the gritty details about how the software works, so long as the product still provides all of the features they have promised to support.
The most fundamental problem with solutions that are unsupported, is the software doesn’t provide any assurance of stability. It could change for any number of reasons and leave your business high and dry. You will end up paying someone more than you would have if you had bought a supported solution from the start.
Do you know if you are running unsupported software in your environment today?
Contact Upward Technology for a free assessment.