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Treat your software upgrade like home renovation

Just as you wouldn’t move into a home and neglect to maintain it, the software that you depend upon daily isn’t something you install and forget about. Technology moves fast and quickly becomes dated. It’s critical that you maintain it through regular upgrades., writes MONIQUE WILLIAMS, Hyland Southern Africa Regional Manager.

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Technology from a decade ago can seem as old-fashioned as the pastel colours, chrome Formica tables, and linoleum flooring from the 1950s. And tech from just a few years ago can be like the shag carpeting, wood panelling, and indoor ferns from the 1970s.

Old technologies don’t just look dated. Often, they are unable to keep up with the needs of modern solutions and are more vulnerable to security risks. Unlike in the world of home design, once a technology is dated, it’s never coming back.

Therefore, upgrades are important. They introduce many fixes for security vulnerabilities, keep software integrations with your important systems running smoothly, and keep you current with cutting-edge technology, possibly even ahead of the competition.

To continue to build value in your investment and prepare for the future, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Record your recent upgrade project

Don’t let the dust settle on your last upgrade project without documenting it. While it’s still fresh in everyone’s memory, record your planning and testing and keep it as a reference for your next upgrade.

Schedule an internal “lessons learned” retrospective for all the people who worked on the project. Set an agenda to discuss what worked well and what you could have done better. Then, carefully compile your test plan from all your individual test cases. Add or refine any scenarios you may have missed, so your testing continues to improve.

Plan your next upgrade window

It’s a good idea to upgrade your solution at least every few years in order to take advantage of optimised features, improved performance and new capabilities.

Work with your internal stakeholders to set an objective. Sticking to a schedule allows you to actually budget for an upgrade, as you can earmark the next project for a predetermined fiscal period.

It also allows your team to form tribal knowledge around the upgrade since you do the project on a regular basis. Preparing and executing the project becomes much easier when your team is comfortable with the cadence.

Upgrading regularly and as close as possible to the recommended schedule ensures that server compatibility should remain between now and your next upgrade, lessening the need for added server migration projects.

Engage expert assistance and tools

Like home maintenance, sometimes a software upgrade is easier said than done, as you might not have the knowledge or abilities, and it would be better left to the pros. Reach out to a company that specialises in upgrades, understands the best methods for upgrading your specific system, and is available to step in and help for any phase of a software upgrade, from consulting to end-to-end upgrade services.

Just as there are tools for home renovations, there are a number of tools to assist an administrator or project manager as they make their upgrade choices, such as worksheets and system assessment tools. Using these tools can save a lot of potential headaches when you’re renovating your IT home during an upgrade.

In the end, whether you have expert help or upgrade your solution yourself, through learning from the past, some planning and leveraging appropriate tools, you’ll prepare your organisation for long-term success.

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