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I read somewhere (probably on StackExchange) that certain large enterprises and government agencies will only use technologies that have been around for ten years. Can't find the source right now. Could someone please confirm this and provide details on which (types of) organizations have this policy? I'm wondering also about which level of technologies this applies too (e.g., languages, frameworks, libraries). For example, does it apply to React? React's been around since 2013 (according to Wikipedia) so it's not old enough, but it's a JavaScript framework, and JavaScript is old enough. Does that mean such organizations will use React because JavaScript's a mature technology?

EDIT:

Can you think of certain organizations that would likely reject using software built with a modern JavaScript framework such as React because it's too new, or for a similar reason?

closed as too broad by gnat, Thomas Junk, Bart van Ingen Schenau, amon, TZHX Sep 10 '16 at 22:19

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • About your edit: I don't think any large organization will reject JS based software because the framework would be too new. However, I have understood that some organizations working in sensitive areas, might be reluctant to adopt it because they fear security issues (example: here and here). – Christophe Sep 10 '16 at 17:21
  • Here the AU government guidelines that illustrate this - note that it's all about client-side JS. – Christophe Sep 10 '16 at 17:31
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We can neither confirm nor deny such a statement.

Risks, reliability and predictability

Governments and large enterprise are very risk adverse and tend to prefer proven technology, that is well understood. Older technologies have more often a proven track of success and are more predictable (e.g. not a technology that will vanish before the investments are amortized).

In governmental organization there is rarely a single person who decides. Administrations tend to follow a hierarchical path for decision making, or to appoint committees. In any case, the broader a technology is known (so age will play a role), the easier it will be accepted by all the stakeholders.

Efficiency

Governments and large enterprises prefer also broadly known technologies:

  • many experts on the market means continuity of service. Large organizations don't like to be too dependent on a scarce number of experts and limited training offer -- a typical situation for newer techs
  • a broad population also favors competition between the market players : lower prices and cost efficiency are key here ("saving taxpayer's money").

Ironically, sometimes newer technology could help making disruptive progress on the costs, but it'll take some time to be noticed and acknowledged.

External influence

Governments and large companies can afford to get advise from independent consultants, and to spend money on studies to optimize investments:

  • In their career, consultants start junior, then get consultant, and only then, after 5 to 7 years are they in a seniority that would allow them to lead large studies for very demanding customers.
  • As all of us, they are subject to a cognitive bias, and tend to favor technologies they know best. So that they'll end up advising more mature technologies.
  • Of course, consulting companies try to use objective methods, train their staff against bias. Nevertheless, probability and psychology will still favor older technologies.

Governments are in addition subject to intense lobbying. The companies that are able to invest in such activity, are rarely start-ups who just discovered the latest tech and are more busy with finding funding and ensure growth to make their technology known.

Conclusion

All these (as well as other) factors contribute together, to make older technology seem more attractive to such large organizations. And hence the observed behavior that you question implies.

I don't think it's intentional, and I would be surprised if there's any official statement about using only 10 years old technology !! It's more a kind of "emergent"/indirect behavior, resulting from several beliefs, expectations and managerial practice, that all push in the same direction.

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I very much doubt that any organization has a policy that explicitly proscribes an age of technologies it will consider for use.

What is somewhat common is to have a list of "allowed" technologies that have been vetted by some process. This process will usually involve criteria for "maturity", such as commercial support and track record that are hard to fulfill for newer technologies. And of course the process itself takes some time. Whether it applies to every single library or only to core pieces of infrastructure may very between organizations.

And in any case, this kind of thing is subject to company politics. A single well-connected individual could expedite the vetting process for their favourite new technology, or have one blacklisted that they dislike.

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