3 important things to know about product life-cycle management in health IT

It was the early ‘90s and I had just started a new job in the box office at the Minnesota Orchestra.  One of my responsibilities was to run a report of the daily, weekly, and monthly ticket sales and subscription numbers to compare them year-to-date. Each day I’d boot up the shared Windows 3.1 PC and run my Lotus 1-2-3 macro to update the daily sales numbers.

Not long after I started this routine, Microsoft introduced Windows 95 with the new “start” menu and Microsoft Office with “Clippy”—the bright-eyed office assistant.

It became apparent that Lotus 1-2-3 was losing to Microsoft Excel, so begrudgingly I took on the task of converting my Lotus documents to MS Excel and converted everything from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95. Following Windows 95 came Windows 97, Windows XP, Windows Vista, etc.

Over the years, I’ve learned the only constant in technology is change. This specific type of change is also known as product life-cycle management, or the life cycle of a technology product from creation to end-of-life. Here are three important things to know about product life-cycle management in health IT.

1. Innovation depends on product life-cycle management

Just imagine if Microsoft still maintained and supported every operating system they created, from the days of IBM DOS and floppy disks all the way to Windows 10. If the above scenario were true, either innovation would be stunted and we’d still be running 8-bit applications, or Microsoft wouldn’t be the company we know today. It would simply be impossible to scale while maintaining so many versions of code.

Spok is like Microsoft and other software companies, where we take advantage of the latest innovative technologies and scale our solutions to be successful. If you’re a current Spok customer, you can learn more on Spok Knowledge about our formal policies, the specific life cycle dates of each Spok product version, and instructions on how to determine what version your organization is running.

2. Use product life cycles to evaluate the needs of your organization

I recommend using changes in your product life cycle to evaluate your business and workflow needs and objectives. For example, each new version of Spok solutions contains new features and functionality designed to help optimize critical communications.  By simply asking for a “like-for- like” upgrade you may be missing out on potential business optimizations. Spok has critical notification domain experts to help ensure your business is optimized, and each upgrade provides an opportunity to re-evaluate your current model.

3. Embrace the change that product life cycles bring

Although I still have fond memories of Lotus 1-2-3, I realize that change is necessary and good.  Embracing change, preparing for it, and looking for ways to optimize your business is the best way to provide continuous improvement when working with technology and software