Tom Petrocelli's take on technology. Tom is the author of the book "Data Protection and Information Lifecycle Management" and a natural technology curmudgeon. This blog represents only my own views and not those of my employer, Enterprise Strategy Group. Frankly, mine are more amusing.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Night of the Living Dead Products!

Products, like living things, have a lifecycle. We conceive of new ideas and birth new products from them. They then begin to mature, finally to begin the slow decline to death. The period when they are in decline, past their maturation period is, hopefully, a long one. When it takes a long time for a product to reach end of life, we call that the long tail and boy is it sweet. You get free money, basically.

Sometimes, however, it doesn't work that way. It may be that there is one critical customer who still loves the product and wants a few more. Perhaps the folks who conceived of and built it have an emotional attachment to it. Often, there is this trickle of revenue associated with it that no one wants to give up. That is the most usual problem and the fact that the support costs are exceeding the profit on the product don't seem to work into anyone's calculations.

No one wants to invest in these products. It is recognized that they are old and other products have supplanted them. So they neither grow nor die. They are Zombie Products! (big B-movie scream here).

You know what I'm talking about. The product that is balanced between life and death. It lives in a netherworld, not moving forward nor toward end of life. The living dead!

Zombie products represent a real problem. They cost real money to make, stock, and support. Parts can become scarce as suppliers end of life their old products. They don't make the kind of margins that are needed to maintain the business. They don't even show the company well - if someone see a Zombie product they may get a negative impression of the company and its products.

So what does one do when there are Zombie products shambling about? Do what you always do to zombies - shoot them in the head. By that I mean, you have to kill them. No matter what it takes, you have to kill them! If the first shot doesn't take them out, try again and again. They must be killed.

Before they kill you...

No comments: