I woke up this morning to the news that Circa News has been indefinitely put on hiatus in terms of new content produced. If you aren't familiar with Circa, it's a great news app that created unbiased news in snippets that you can consume quickly - on the bus, on the way to the next meeting and so forth - with brilliant journalists to help along the way. Nice way to stay on top of what's going on in the world without burning a lot of time.
That made me start thinking about apps and forming an attachment to any app. Sometimes you invest heavily in one and poof it goes. Warning label: Forming app attachment can be hazardous to your heart and all that.
We put our lives into these tiny devices and pieces of software that suddenly vanish one day (remember Google Reader? RIP Google Reader). We may roll our eyes at the competitors that come out trying to take on the established guys in the space, but the reality is that if there aren't any duplicate services or apps the resulting lack of competition makes companies reach for good enough. If there are too many duplicates, then one may disappear overnight and it may be your favorite of the two or three. (My friend and co-worker Arika wrote about this seemingly overkill of companies who want press for doing the same thing as other guys or wanting to be known as "Uber for x".)
The question to ask now is: How prepared are you to replace an integral piece of software that holds up the infrastructure of your business? First step would be understanding the competition to enable quick decision making. Another plan could be coding your own solution. We've done it at SHIFT time and again when something that supports our services disappears. And please, for the love of all that is good, keep backups of your data.
It's vital to have a backup plan in mind, because you never, ever know what's going on behind the scenes of a software company and when your favorite service will be buried and gone.