At DRACOON, we share a common passion: to deliver the best possible product that is both technically advanced and tailored to the needs of our users. Along the way, not only do we have to decide which new features to add, but there's always a situation where old features conflict with DRACOON improvements and can no longer be supported.
When such a case occurs, we are sometimes asked by our customers why we cannot keep an old function and continue to offer it. The reason for this is usually that the costs for maintenance are too high. Costs relate 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 with the conviction that it is best not only for us, but also for our customers as a whole.
Reasons for the end of support of certain features
In the following, we will go into detail about the various reasons that lead to expenses for our customers or for us and therefore obsolete functions can no longer be supported.
In software development there is the important principle of "technical debt". It describes that the maintenance effort of obsolete components increases disproportionately over time and causes costs both for our customers and for us. The emergence of technological debt can have different causes.
On the one hand, rapid technological progress means that new developments have the potential to make existing implementations obsolete. The enormous increase in data and bandwidth can also mean that certain features no longer work satisfactorily and have to be replaced by modern technology. In order not to build up a technological debt, existing functions have to be questioned regularly and some outdated functions have to be removed, i.e. every high-quality software is subject to permanent modification and further development.
On the other hand, obsolete functions and technologies make it difficult or even impossible to integrate new functions. First, the consequences are a significantly higher development effort and a greatly increased maintenance effort, as the correct functioning of several features must now be ensured. Second, the existence of outdated features often prevents the high-quality integration of new functions in DRACOON. The removal of obsolete features helps us invest time otherwise lost through technological fault in new functions and future technology.
When we analyse such outdated functions, we often find that they are only used very occasionally by our customers, since they have already been replaced by newer options as a result of the ageing process. This view strengthens our decision to focus on the development of new functions.
The coexistence of obsolete and new features also affects our support. In order to provide our customers with the best possible support, each support employee must have detailed knowledge of both obsolete and new features. In addition, a comprehensive and maintained documentation is necessary. The time invested in this area 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— here, too, knowledge must be available and comprehensive documentation must be ensured. In some cases, more training is required to avoid operating errors when different options coexist.
At the same time, the existence of old and new functions leads to increased communication effort. In addition to our support staff, it costs our customers additional time to determine used versions and configuration settings of affected features to solve existing problems.
User Experience (UX) is the link between technology and people. UX describes how well human users find their way in an application and how pleasant it is to work with an application.
The rapid technological progress also affects the user experience, for example with new operating concepts and device classes such as tablets, which offer considerable advantages for our customers. The removal of obsolete functions ensures that DRACOON remains intuitively operable and prevents operating errors or unnecessary reference to the user manual. This leads to productivity increases and increased satisfaction of our customers' employees.
We hope this has provided some insight into the complex decision-making processes that takes place before we decide to remove features from DRACOON. We are very aware that in almost all cases there is one or the other customer who has integrated a feature into the daily work process and does not want to do without it. However, we are forced to make these decisions for the benefit of all our customers. To make sure that our changes don't leave our customers unprepared, we communicate the end of support for features in a timely manner and through multiple channels. In addition, our support site provides an overview for each affected feature, showing our customers alternatives to deal with the changed situation.
Ultimately, removing obsolete and outdated features also means focusing on what's essential, what makes our product what it is, and what ensures that our customers get the most out of DRACOON.