Why do software companies update software and end support for old versions?
The term “End of Life” may sound severe, and may sometimes cause confusion in different situations, but it is an important term for software companies and their customers.
End of Life (EOL) refers to the phase in the lifespan of a computer program wherein a software publisher is halting or limiting its support for a product or, more frequently, for a specific version of software.
PCLaw | Time Matters™, like other software companies, must periodically move older versions of software into EOL in order to focus on effectively supporting customers with newer versions, and introducing new features.
Some may wonder why software publishers cannot continue to support old versions with which users seemed to have grown comfortable.
What Does EOL Entail?
Often, when a software version reaches its EOL Date:
Technical support on that version will stop. As new versions of software are released, the ability to train support staff on older, out-of-date versions becomes increasingly difficult and expensive.
Online support documentation, like articles on P|T Community, will no longer be produced specifically for that version. With some exceptions, companies will no longer develop articles or resources that are specific to older versions of software after EOL.
Requests for new features or bug fixes will no longer be considered for that version. As both publishers and the majority of their users move on to the latest version of a program, it becomes increasingly difficult to justify the expense of improving or updating older versions. This is especially true when a program or software version has been phased to EOL.
Why Do Versions Phase Out Into EOL?
There are many reasons why companies move older versions of software into EOL. Some of the most important are:
Improved Technical Support – As publishers continue to update their software, they must train customer support technicians to focus specifically on details of the newer and most used versions of their software. If a publisher were to continue to train future technicians to service all versions of software that they have ever produced, this would reduce efficiency as well as the number of available technicians.
Security Issues – In the computing world, there is one group of people who seem to always be using the latest, most up to date technology – hackers. Many software updates contain updated security patches to help prevent breaches, malware, viruses, ransomware, and more. By ending support for older versions, companies encourage their users to improve their own digital security.
Regulatory Or Legal Issues – Software updates often include changes that are required to address new laws or regulations. This is especially true for PCLaw | Time Matters. Legal and regulatory changes are common for legal professionals in the United States and Canada. It is because of these changes that we have a shared obligation to help the legal professionals that use our solutions to remain compliant. By moving older versions into EOL, we hope to encourage our customers to update to versions that are up-to-date with jurisdictional requirements.
Incompatibility – No computer program exists within a vacuum. They are part of a digital industrial network that includes operating systems, automations, web browsers, word processors, payroll services, as well as integrated or third-party service providers. Using software during its EOL phase will almost always result in incompatibilities. This can slow productivity, compromise valuable data, and render software unreliable or even unusable. Moving older software versions to EOL encourages users to update to the latest version and get a better experience for their day-to-day work.
Why are customers hesitant about updating software?
Some individuals may be reluctant to upgrade their software and may not understand the reasons why there could be potential harm in continuing to use an out-of-date software release like legacy versions of PCLaw® or Time Matters®.
Others may feel as though they simply cannot take the time to update their software to the latest version, with all of their pressing daily activities.
Software upgrades do require some investment of time. However, this investment can certainly pay off in the long run by helping maintain data security and compliance with regulations, improving workflows and compatibility and reducing downtime, and even reducing tech support costs.
When someone continues using a computer program or software version after its EOL phase, they are taking on a myriad of unnecessary risks and liabilities. For AMP Membership Customers who are ready to move up to the newest versions of PCLaw or Time Matters, click here to start taking advantage of the latest improvements and workflow solutions.