Vendors tend to publish roadmaps for their products. Those roadmaps include when the product schedule to be replaced with new version, when the product regular support will be replaced with extended support and when the vendor won’t support certain product version.
Capturing this data is important for several needs. We don’t want to find our self having a problem with a product that doesn’t have any vendor support (especially if this product support core business capabilities), and we want to minimize (as much as possible) costs associated with extended vendor support.
It’s a tedious process to collect relevant vendor information, maintain it and compare it to enterprise roadmaps for each vendor products. But as anything else in life, analyzes this tedious work outputs tend to produce insights that can be translated to EA achievement. We can identify in advance if we are going to enter extended support contract or if we are going to use unsupported product next year. Identifying those issue in advance enable us to plan and therefore to reduce costs and risks.
I always like the visual approach; therefore I translate the collected data into visual presentation where I can see on a time scale how vendor products roadmaps are related to my enterprise roadmap. You can see below a real life example of compression of MS products. The top row represents Microsoft roadmap, while the second row represents my enterprise roadmap (for the same project). This example is limited to product availability, but it can be extended with extra support easily.
[Click image to get XLS file - Original post]