Recently, Microsoft made waves in the corporate world by announcing that they were shuttering support for their popular operating system, Windows XP. Despite widespread adoption of Windows 7 in recent years (with 54% of current OS market share), the now decade-old XP still clocks in at second with 19% market share. Many companies around the world using XP as their main OS find themselves scrambling to either upgrade their systems or leave themselves at risk for security breaches.
So, how does this relate to us here at Sherpa Software? Well, I got to thinking about why so many companies had delayed upgrading, and I realized that the answer was right in front of me by comparing it to a similar case with one of our own products.
Sherpa Software released version 3.5 of Archive Attender (AA) in 2009; yet, we still receive support requests for this version on a regular basis, so much so that we’ve had to open an internal development track to keep watch on reported issues. While many customers have successfully upgraded, others are content with their older version. The reasons they’ve provided tend to be following the same pattern of practicality: in short, the software fulfills their needs, enough for them to bypass the upgrade.
Despite the wealth of new features added with each new version, these organizations found no need to upgrade. Deploying a new version of Archive Attender is not even a cost issue; with active maintenance and support agreements, customers can download the latest versions just by logging in to Sherpa Software’s website. Yet, delaying an upgrade can actually cost more in the long run, in terms of time and energy, especially when upgrading from 3.5 to our latest version, 4.2.
There are reasonable justifications to delay upgrading (waiting for updates to other parts of the system, putting out fires, entering crunch time, etc.), but I have yet to see a case where upgrading hindered the user’s experience without improving it in several different ways. Archive Attender may work well as currently deployed, but rarely does the rest of their environment remain static – and this causes a support headache, as most of the incidents related to older versions of AA have, due to unforeseen incompatibilities with the latest operating systems, Exchange or Outlook. While Sherpa does its best to make sure that the most current, updated version will work seamlessly with newer environments, it’s much harder to guarantee that a five-year-old version of AA will work as well with last week’s Outlook update.
This is why I’m pretty excited for Sherpa Altitude IG TM support. Being a hybrid cloud-based system, customers don’t have to worry about upgrading; the single-most recent build is available for all customers at any time of the day, allowing the support team to dedicate more time to solving problems rather than trying to endlessly manage outdated versions. It’ll mean less hassle for the customers and more time for our developers to implement features and create a better user experience.