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Haunted By Ghost Software? You’re Not Alone.

In the world of business and operations software, there’s a problem that’s known but not often talked about by industry players. I call it “ghost software” and it haunts a number of service providers.

On the 10th January 2019, Ericsson, one of the largest BSS vendors in the market, announced its intention to no longer invest in further developing its next-generation full-stack Revenue Manager BSS platform.

This is announcement, in my view, verifies the existence of ghost software, a problem that plagues service providers by inhibiting their advancement of their business models in this critical phase of digital transformation. Also, it’s a bad look for software vendors and the people who market that software (raising my hand slowly).

Ghost software, in my experience, floats around like a rumor, gets marketed as future-proof (a phrase that’s a sure sign that ghosts are in the building), is demonstrated slickly but at veneer thin level and will never actually be delivered as product.

Having been in this industry for a while, I’ve seen a fair few software products released that never meet their promise. But that’s a failure to execute whereas ghost software is a willful deception perpetuated by marketing and selling something that a vendor knows will never be a viable product.

The damage ghost software does is very real. Service providers who find out that it never will exist after having bought it are left with little alternative but to muddle through with sub-optimal systems and architectures, right at the moment when they need to build the type of business they need, want, must have to remain competitive.

You’re not alone if you’ve been ghosted by a software vendor and there are things that you can do about it. Look for solutions that are proven to be additive in value and that overlay the architecture and systems you’ve been left with after the ghost software have been drawn out by the Ouji board of truth. Hansen Catalog has come to the rescue of a number of organizations that have been promised an enterprise product catalog that’s sadly never materialized. An Asian mobile service provider turned to Hansen Catalog for this and our services team provided catalog migration solutions, including from old Conceptwave deployments, to support in that process.

But what about preventing investment in ghost software? First, look very closely for a demonstrable track record of successful and regular releases of software that’s been corroborated by your industry peers. At Hansen, we employ an Agile development approach to regularly release major and minor releases of the products in the Create-Deliver-Engage portfolio – we regularly and reliably delivers software that’s real and works. Second, ensure that the company has a track record of launching products that service providers are implementing already. Look to see if they they’ve promised a new software solution, that it’s actually been release and customers are using it. Case in point: we’ve recently released Hansen Portfolio and two service providers are implementing the product, which has just moved into it’s second release.

Ghost software will probably never completely be exorcised from the industry, but service providers can look true product companies like Hansen to help prevent them ever haunting your business.

Stephen Krajewski
Director of Product Marketing

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