To Upgrade or Not Upgrade ... That Is the Question!
Fear is often the driver behind many businesses' upgrade decisions. Fear of the unknown can cause you to stick with the tried and true. While conversely, fear of missing out can drive you to adopt unnecessary upgrades.
So, when is the best time to upgrade and why?
Reasons to Upgrade
Get the Latest Features
Upgrades always bring with them new and improved features. What you must decide is what value these features will bring to your business. Are they must-have (e.g., bug fixes), nice to have (e.g., new features that will enhance your business efficiency) or not necessary (e.g., new functions that you currently have no use for)?
Sometimes you need to upgrade to stay compatible with other software and hardware. If you are exchanging files with others who are using the latest version of a particular or app, then you may need to upgrade to the same version to be able to read and modify each other's files. Similarly, when you purchase new hardware, you may need to upgrade your software if your old software is incompatible with the new hardware or operating system.
On the surface, it can appear that an upgrade equals cost, both in terms of new license fees and staff training. However, upgrading can sometimes save you money. For example, if you skip several upgrades, the impact of the change in software will be far greater than if you have upgraded every version. Depending on how many upgrades you skip, you may find that the user interfaces completely altered, thus impacting on you and your staff far more dramatically than if the upgrade curve was gradual.
Ignoring upgrades can eventually result in your software longer being supported by its creator. This can place your business at risk and compromise the security of your systems. Just because the software still appears to work doesn't mean it always will, and when something goes wrong, you will have no support and no recourse.
Reasons Not to Upgrade
Upgrading can be a total disaster if you discover that the software programs and hardware peripherals that your software interfaces are incompatible. This can result in needing to roll back the upgrade and/or having to commission custom interfaces. It is always better to delay upgrading until compatibility issues have been resolved.
Bugs and Security Risks
While being an early adopter can give you access to all of the latest and coolest features, it can also place you on the "bleeding" edge when bugs emerge. Waiting for the bugs to be resolved before you upgrade can reduce security and business risks.
Direct and Hidden Costs
As well as the cost of upgrade licenses, you will need to consider other factors, including interfaces with any specialist or custom software that you currently use. The cost of developing new interfaces (if required) needs to be scoped in order for you to know the true cost of the proposed upgrade.
Impact on Users
People do not always respond well to change, and learning new software and work practices can be disruptive and confronting. You need to be able to communicate to staff how the upgrade will make their jobs easier long-term.
To take the fear and the confusion out of your next upgrade decision, it is worth considering getting independent expert advice. Check out how Dependable Solutions can help accelerate your business to the next level by visiting www.dependablerights.com.