“I’ve just had a call from my account director, and I’m being told that (insert favourite Microsoft application) is going end of support, what does that mean?” is a question often asked at senior levels and directed towards all-seeing, all-knowing IT.

For years the finance director has been signing off additional payments for that extended support which has kept everyone in IT comfortable in their beds with the thinking that if the worst happens, they have someone to reach out to for support.

It is common for there to be that one application that a business can’t seem to do without, but also should have been upgraded years ago and in fact are now in truth three versions behind.

A favourite excuse used to be “We know there is a new version that has just come out, but we are going to wait until the first service pack comes out” or “It’s doing what we need right now, and we can’t see what these newer features will give us”.

Outdated Software Causing Cyber Security Vulnerabilities

As cybercrime has moved from an annoyance where your files might get leaked to the public through to a multi-billion-pound ransom industry where every vulnerability is now probed looking for an in. If you have applications running that are no longer receiving security fixes, your business could be at significant risk of cyber attack.

For some businesses, it might be ignored as you have cyber insurance, so if the worst happens your business is covered, right? It is likely, however, that running applications which have reached end of support is going to nullify or reduce what can be claimed.

In recent years we have waved goodbye to SQL Server 2012, Dynamics CRM 2011, and Internet Explorer 10 to name but a few. This year it will be the turn of SharePoint Server 2013. Which, for me evokes memories of many trips to visit our clients to explain the benefits of this new and improved document management system. It was key for me to explain to customers why they should be looking to move away from that file server sitting in the server room. The server room had been described to me on more than one occasion as the wardrobe from the Lion and the Witch.

SharePoint 2013 End of Life

Microsoft SharePoint 2013, which launched in January back in 2013, is nearing its end. As of 11th April 2023 it will no longer receive any security updates, hotfixes, or technical support from Microsoft.

In recent months I have found myself retracing these journeys to several clients, reminding them that the service pack to SharePoint 2016 was released many years ago. Unless clients can run some ducting from the server room out to help heat the building their wardrobe leading to Narnia is now becoming very expensive to run.

To clients, a SharePoint migration involving hundreds of thousands if not millions of records must always seem daunting. In some cases the lack of knowledge of the application and its capabilities are as much of a barrier to adoption as are budgetary concerns.

We are able to mitigate these concerns as at Chess we have some great SharePoint consultants who have worked with me for up to twenty years and have experience from some that goes back to before SharePoint 2010.

What should I consider?

We understand that it’s not easy to move away from applications and services that are familiar to all and that have served organisations well. These barriers, we overcome through our SharePoint migration strategies.

While the temptation is always there to run a like for like upgrade, we seek to understand the current needs of organisations. This can be achieved through demonstrations of new functionality and workshopping of ideas both as round table discussions and design driven engagements using modern toolsets such as Miro Boards.

These engagements provide the necessary scope for our teams to build in collaboration with our clients appropriate SharePoint sites for the requirements of today and requirements in the future. As the build progresses, the stakeholders are involved in reviews and as such feedback adjustments as is necessary, the result being a build which contains no surprises and delivers on all aspects of the scope.

Make the change easier with Adoption and Change Management

Additionally, we overlay the build engagement with our Adoption Change Management (ACM) methodology seeking to provide the users with the appropriate knowledge to use the new SharePoint features, thus removing the fear of the new.

In Conclusion

End of support has been a fact for many years now and while organisations may have the internal knowledge to continue to support legacy systems, the increased cyber security threats make these events more compelling.

While the 11th of April is fast approaching, there is still time to act.