Exit strategy

interstate-exitThoughts about strategic IT problems come from all sorts of places.

TiVo picked up an episode of MI-5 that I got around to watching at 2 AM today.  The episode opens with the tech wizard guy explaining to the lead character how he’s set up a security system for the lead’s house that “makes it a fortress.”  Oh, damnable foreshadowing.  You just know it’s not going to go well.  And it doesn’t. At the end of the episode, the sophisticated entry control system is brought down by some cake frosting in the card reader.  Our hero is stuck outside, while his girlfriend and her daughter are stuck inside with a ticking time bomb.  Neither our hero nor the bomb squad can get in, and the people inside cannot get out.

What’s the IT aspect?  We focus more on cost and performance issues when establishing a relationship with a vendor or jumping into a new technology.  How will it be billed? What are the service levels and remedies?  It’s easy to overlook what happens when the contract ends, the application becomes obsolete, or the vendor disappears or drops the product.  At the end of the relationship, you may find yourself outside, your data locked in, and the clock is ticking.

It’s hard to figure out the exit strategies for SaaS and cloud-based applications.  And if recent events have taught us anything, it’s that no vendor or service is too big to fail.  Don’t walk in unless you know how to get out, and get out very fast if necessary.

The job ain’t done until you know how to run.