Cherwell IT Service Management Blog
Resources, Best Practices, and Solutions for ITSM Pros

The Truth Behind Hassle-Free Portability: Are They Just a Big Tease?

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I’ve finally had it with my landline carrier. My family decided to go with one of these new VOIP carriers. The website was very straightforward; even porting my number over was going to be a breeze. I was thrilled. The last thing we wanted was to hand out a new phone number. So you can imagine my frustration when I entered our phone number and received the following message:

“Unfortunately, we can’t transfer that number to our service. How about we give you a brand new one?”

No, I don’t want a new one! I want a new way of calling, I want better rates…but I don’t want a new number and all the hassle that come with it!!

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but my frustration is what many IT departments will feel when they try to change how their current service desk solution is deployed or paid for.

Kudos to ServiceNow. They made customers/vendors realize that the traditional purchase license, hosted on premise was not the only option that existed. As they have surged ahead in this space, the rest of us were left scrambling to figure out how to compete. I applaud them.

Vendors have varied in how they responded to offer both deployment options, by:

  • Taking their application and sticking it in the cloud and calling it SaaS.
  • Building a completely separate solution.
  • Purchasing/Acquiring a competitor to incorporate into their offerings.

It’s exciting! Finally the playing field has been leveled and IT no longer has to worry about moving back and forth between deployment and purchasing options! After all, vendors state on their website that porting back and forth between deployment/licensing is a breeze… until you try it.

Now you get the response:

“Unfortunately you personally cannot transfer your data from a hosted environment to an on premise environment or vice versa. If you want to subscribe, it has to be hosted. How about we charge you a lot of money to do all that work for you? How about we give you brand new software solution, written on a completely different code base?”

That is a big fat fail! Here is what true portability means:

  • You do not gain less or more features/functionality by taking one option over the other
  • Moving between on premise and hosted is as simple as downloading/uploading the data to your data center/the hosted data center
  • How you pay for the license is (subscription vs. purchase) is irrelevant in respect to deployment
  • There is no difference in the code base, i.e. you are not doing a rip and replace
  • You, as the customer, have freedom of choice in terms of how you pay for it, where it is deployed and is not affected by the software, because it is identical.

At Cherwell Software:

  • You have choice to subscribe or purchase the licenses.
  • You have choice where you deploy the software.
  • You are free to change your mind on purchase or deployment.
  • There are no differences (i.e. code base) in the features/ functionality the software provides.
  • Rip and replace does not exist. Period.

Ultimately our family went with a carrier that was able to port my land-line number to their VOIP without any effort on my part and without any additional fees or hassles. Shouldn’t the same apply to portability when it comes to your ITSM service management solution?

You tell me.