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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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New iPhone pricing for SA

The iStore has announced that the latest iPhones, the Xs and Xs Max, can now be pre-ordered at www.myistore.co.za , and will be available in stores starting 28 September 2018.

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iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max feature 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch Super Retina displays that offer remarkable brightness and true blacks while showing 60 percent greater dynamic range in HDR photos. iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max have an improved dual camera system that offers breakthrough photo and video features, A12 Bionic chip with next-generation Neural Engine, faster Face ID, wider stereo sound, longer battery life, splash and water resistance,

Pre-orders will be open for cash purchases and on iStore’s revised payment plan in partnership with FNB Credit Card, allowing customers to pay off their iPhone at a reduced interest rate. However, the contract period is 37 months rather than the usual 24 months.
*FNB Credit Card Payment Plan, price per month over 37 months, a 40% trade-in value after 24 months

How to pre-order – Pre-ordering online for either cash or the FNB payment plan gives customers the benefit of reserving their purchase without having to queue and the added convenience of having purchases delivered directly to their door. Pre-orders of iPhone Xs and Xs Max are completed online by visiting www.myistore.co.za.
FREE iCare Plus – Exclusive to iStore, all customers can get its 2-year extended warranty, which includes one Apple Certified screen repair, that normally sells for R1 999, for FREE. To qualify, customers should secure a voucher online now at www.myistore.co.za , and subsequently redeem it when they upgrade their contract or purchase any new iPhone at iStore (iPhone 8 and newer) between now and 31 December 2018. Offer is limited, secure your voucher now.

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Accenture opens Fjord design centre in Johannesburg

Accenture has launched its first design and innovation studio on African soil, Fjord Johannesburg.

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The company says the move significantly expands its design capabilities and demonstrates its commitment to unlocking Africa’s innovation potential through the creation of experiences that redefine industries in our constantly evolving digital era.

The new studio, opening in November, will be located at Accenture’s new 3875m² offices in Waterfall. It will be led by Marcel Rossouw, design director and studio lead for Fjord Johannesburg.

Said Rossouw, “Brands are constantly asking, ’how does one take a business need or problem, build that out into a definition of a service experience, and then bring it to market?’ It’s about re-engineering existing service experiences, identifying customer needs, prototyping rapidly, iterating often and proving or disproving assumptions. But it’s also about getting feedback from customers. The combination of these factors helps companies advance towards the ultimate service experience.”

Fjord is the design and innovation consultancy of Accenture Interactive. The Johannesburg location marks its 28th design studio globally, solidifying its position as the world’s leading design powerhouse.

Working in the same location as Accenture Interactive will allow Fjord to fuse its core design strategy DNA with the digital agency’s expertise in marketing, content and commerce to create and deliver the best customer experiences for the world’s leading brands. Accenture Interactive Africa‘s blend of intelligent design and creative use of technology has already been used by some of South Africa’s largest and most prominent brands, including Alexander Forbes, Discovery, MultiChoice and Nedbank. The digital agency has also earned industry accolades for its innovative and compelling business results, most notably two gold awards in the Service Design category at the 2017 and 2018 Loeries awards.

“Great design tells great stories,” says Wayne Hull, managing director of Accenture Digital and Accenture Interactive lead in Africa. “It unifies a brand, drives innovation and makes the brand or service distinctive and hyper-relevant in both the digital and physical worlds. This is critical to achieving results. Having Fjord Johannesburg as part of Accenture Interactive, and collaborating with all of Accenture Africa, will provide unique experiences and forward-thinking capabilities for our clients.”

“Businesses in South Africa are becoming more design-aware and are looking to take greater advantage of design skills to compete with the rest of the world,” said Thomas Müller, head of Europe, Africa and Latin America at Fjord. “We’re excited to open our first design studio on the continent and to be part of an emerging market that is ripe for design and innovation, and open for business. Developing markets like South Africa are challenging assumptions and norms about what digital services and products are meant to be, and we’ll strive to put design at the heart of the innovation being produced there.”

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