3 questions to ask when you’re forced to pay for a software upgrade

Imagine this situation. Your current software platform is two versions behind the vendor’s latest release and they’re telling you that you have to upgrade or lose support. You’re wondering why you’re being forced to upgrade when the vendor is choosing not to support their own software. You might be comparing it with your Office 365 subscription where Microsoft keeps rolling out new features without breaking your existing applications. Maybe you’re starting to wonder if this is one of the very real differences between cloud solutions for oil and gas and traditional software, regardless of whether the latter is on-premises or hosted. Finally, you might be contemplating whether this is the time to change your software, but you can’t decide if it’s simply too much hassle.  

If you find yourself in this situation, the choices might appear daunting. It might seem better to carry on as you are, and simply continue to pay your existing vendor. Before you do that, there are three questions you should ask yourself  

Is your current system still right for you?

Ask yourself if your current software is meeting the demand of today’s hyper-dynamic workplace, where users expect on-demand availability from any location and device. Can you accommodate remote working? Do you have operations in different time zones, or work shift patternsUltimately, your software needs to facilitate secure, flexible data sharing with role-based security  

Does it do what you need it toAll too often we see complex workarounds or spreadsheets supplementing missing functionality. Aside from the obvious issue of paying for underperforming software, workarounds are time-consumingpresent huge risksand could be creating data security issues. 

Can your software keep up with operational demand? Perhaps it’s becoming increasingly expensive and difficult to find qualified technical talent to change and support your legacy solutions. Maybe the support from your vendor is slow and lacklustre. 

As the market grows ever more volatile, you need to make sure your software is flexible enough to be handled in-house to meet challenges head on.  

If the answer to any of these questions is no, it could be time for your business to switch to a new solution rather than upgrading.  

With the increasing availability of cloud solutions for oil and gas, implementing a whole new system doesn’t have to mean all the disruption and hard work you might expect.  

How easily can I replace my existing solution?

Modern cloud solutions should give you a choice of implementation options. 

Easy and intuitive user interfaces and configurability mean you can ‘Do-It-Yourself'. This represents a cost-effective choice that gives your team full control over the process. new EnergySys customer recently configured their own instance for a North Sea asset in just four weeks. 

If you have several assets and your resources are stretched thin, a phased approach might be a good choice for your situation. By on-boarding one asset at a timeyou can avoid overloading your team. Cloud solutions can effortlessly scale, so a phased roll-out can be easily accommodated with more limited cost and resource requirements 

Alternatively, get an implementation partner to do it for you. This is an excellent option for those looking for a faster deployment or who are setting up hydrocarbon management system for the first time. Partners bring a wealth of domain experience and product knowledge, often translating into a faster, more capable implementation that may include time saving tips and processes you hadn’t thought of.  

Some vendors can also provide great template applications to help get you startedHowever, you’re going to want to make sure that you have the ability to easily extend or modify these applicationto allow you to meet whatever unique challenges or requirements may come up in the future.  

 

What is it going to cost?

When evaluating whether a new solution is better option than upgrading your current systemit’s critical you consider more than just the bottom line. The cost of an upgrade might look less in the short term, but will you face a bigger bill in a year or two when you have to upgrade again? How much will you have to spend on consultants, or technical specialiststo make changes? Will it be easy to train and onboard new talent? How much will it cost to scale the system up – or down – in line with the business?  

Cloud solutions for oil and gas offer the most value hereSoftware as a Service (SaaS) models are increasingly popular and, as the name suggests, take care of all the mundane, time consuming bits associated with IT. Everything, from disaster recovery to upgrades, is the responsibility of the vendor, so your expert team can focus on what they do best. 

Imagine never having to plan or pay for an upgrade project again? 

 

Making the case for cloud solutions

As good as the case for new software looks on paper, we understand it’s never as straightforward as that. Opting for a new implementation is a big decision and often involves several stakeholders.  

To help you decide the best option for your business, start with an evaluation. Lay bare the facts about your current software by assessing what you think is working and what is not. What do you like about your current system? How different would it look if your hydrocarbon management system could do everything you wanted? What functions must your solution carry out and what features would be nice to haveor simply make your life easier? 

Armed with this information and understanding, you can quickly evaluate which option is the right fit and offers the best value. It may even form the basis of your requirements capture, saving you time should you wish to move forward with implementing new software. 

 

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