We at DRACOON share a common passion: We want to provide the best possible product, which is both technically leading and exactly tailored to the needs of our users. Along the way, we not only have to decide which new features to add, but situations regularly arise where old features conflict with improving DRACOON and can no longer be supported.
In such cases we are often asked by our customers why we cannot keep an old feature and continue to offer it. The reason for this is usually that the costs for maintenance are too high. Costs refer almost exclusively to non-monetary expenses, which would also have to be borne by our customers. Whenever we decide to remove functions from the product, we do so in the belief that it is best not only for us but for all of our customers as well.
Reasons for the End of Support for Features
Below, we will go into detail about the various reasons why our customers or we incur expenses and therefore obsolete functions can no longer be supported.
In software development there is the important principle of " technical debt". This describes the fact that the maintenance effort of obsolete components increases disproportionately over time and causes costs for both our customers and ourselves. The emergence of technological debt can have various causes.
On the one hand, rapid technological progress means that new developments have the potential to render existing implementations obsolete. On the other hand, the enormous increase in data and bandwidth can lead to certain features no longer functioning satisfactorily and needing to be replaced by modern technology. To avoid building up technological debt, we regularly have to question existing features and remove some features that are no longer up to date, in other words, all high-quality software is subject to constant redesign and development.
On the other hand, outdated features and technologies make the integration of new functionality difficult or even impossible. The consequences are firstly a significantly higher development effort and subsequently a strongly increased maintenance effort, since the correct function of several features must now be ensured. Secondly, the existence of obsolete features often prevents the high-quality integration of new functionality into DRACOON. Removing obsolete features helps us to invest the time otherwise lost due to technical debt into new features and future technology.
When analyzing such obsolete features we often find out that they are only used very sporadically by our customers because they have already been replaced by newer options due to an aging process. This observation strengthens our decision to focus on the development of new functions.
The coexistence of obsolete and new features also affects our customer support. In order to provide our customers with the best possible support, every support agent must have detailed knowledge of both obsolete and new features. In addition, this requires comprehensive and well-maintained documentation. The time invested in this is therefore not available to support our customers in other areas.
This challenge is also directly reflected in the internal help desk of our customers—there too, knowledge must be available and comprehensive documentation must be ensured. In some cases, increased training is necessary to avoid operating errors when different options coexist.
Simultaneously, the existence of old and new functions leads to an increased communication effort. In addition to our support team, it costs especially our customers additional time to determine versions and configuration settings of affected features in order to solve an existing problem.
User experience (UX) is located at the interface between technology and people. UX describes how well human users find their way around an application and how pleasant it is to work with an application.
Rapid technological progress is also affecting the user experience, for example with new operating concepts and device classes such as tablets, which offer considerable advantages for our customers. Removing obsolete features ensures that DRACOON remains intuitive to use and prevents incorrect operation or unnecessary reference to the user manual. This leads to productivity gains and increased satisfaction of our customers' employees.
Hopefully, we could provide some insight into the complex decision making processes that will take place before we decide to remove features from DRACOON. We are very aware that in almost all cases there are one or two customers who have integrated a feature into their daily work process and do not want to miss it. Nevertheless we are forced to make these decisions in the interest of our entire customer base. We communicate the end of support for features with a long time in advance and through various channels so that changes do not catch our customers unprepared. In addition, our support environment provides an overview for each affected feature, in which we show our customers alternatives for dealing with the changed situation.
Ultimately, removing obsolete and outdated features also means focusing on the essentials, on what makes our product what it is, on what ensures that our customers get the maximum benefit from DRACOON.