Trends Report

Application Upgrades: How To Make Upgrade Decisions When Business Value Proves Elusive

June 25th, 2010
With contributors:
Ralph Vitti , Connie Moore


Business owners of on-premises enterprise application packages face an ongoing dilemma: whether or not to invest in upgrades to the current release. While most business and IT execs put off upgrades as long as possible to avoid costs and minimize business disruption, some choose to move forward by staying current with the release path. When done infrequently, upgrades represent a major ownership cost spike that usually requires rigorous internal justification. Both business process stakeholders and IT applications delivery partners often struggle to make a compelling case to fund an upgrade project. To make complex upgrade decisions easier, Forrester's Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) framework takes into account the costs and project risks, along with business benefits, risk avoidance, and flexibility. More strategically, additional options — increasingly more readily available — make long-term costs of ownership simpler, more transparent, and possibly lower. These options include software-as-a-service (SaaS), cloud-based infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), application managed services (AMS), and third-party support.

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