the costs of fear in software upgrades

The Costs of Fear in Software Upgrades

In Software Selectionby Frances DonnellyLeave a Comment

the costs of fear in software upgrades

As software developers, we get really excited about our new product releases. Releasing a new version of code is a significant benchmark for us and represents the culmination of many hours of design, specification, coding and, yes, testing.

In a sense, a code release is like a new airplane rolling out of the production hangar. It comes with a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. But, just like an airplane manufacturer would be disappointed if the airplane never flew, code developers are disappointed when customers are disinterested in upgrading to a latest release.

Upgrade Benefits Get Lost

A key value of a software licensing cost is the opportunity to obtain enhancements and improvements in the software functionality. But, to realize that benefit users do have to complete upgrades to their systems. The sad truth is that too frequently those upgrades are not executed and the value of that aspect of the investment is lost.

The primary reason upgrades don’t happen is fear

There is fear that an upgrade process will not go smoothly or that it will be too costly. It is a fear that is easy to understand because, truly, there is a bit of a mystery to the whole process. That mystery is based in these challenges:

  1. Frequency and familiarity – We are all more comfortable executing some processes or routines because of familiarity. Frequent repetition is what creates familiarity. When we do something often enough we gain confidence in our ability to execute it well. More importantly, we gain confidence that if something does go awry we will likely have the knowledge to deal with it because it will look like something we have previously encountered.
  2. Knowledge – Familiarity then builds our confidence in our knowledge of what to do or what to expect. We feel our knowledge is sufficient enough to see the process through to a successful conclusion.

We all know that software is less of an exact science than we would like it to be. There are enough factors at play in an upgrade that the permutations and combinations are not likely to all be covered in standard documentation. We believe, because this is how it has been in the past, there will be something unexpected. When we don’t know where the unexpected will occur, we can’t really prepare for it.

Upgrades are not a common occurrence so preparing based on frequency is not really an effective method for gaining confidence. This simply means we have to put more emphasis on knowledge.

GPUG Magazine Advises on DynamicsGP Upgrade

As knowledge is key to overcoming fears that could prevent an effective upgrade, we recommend a review of the Q1 2015 issue of GPUG Magazine. The team in the Dynamics Communities have put great effort into their current issue, focusing on preparing for and upgrading to the most recent release of DynamicsGP. We find their advice important and useful.

The content addresses the challenges of lack of familiarity and lack of knowledge by:

Reminding us there is a large community of DynamicsGP users willing to help you plan, execute and troubleshoot your upgrade. Mark Huff from South Adams County Water and Sanitation District is leading his team through a DynamicsGP2015 upgrade and is heading up the SIG for upgrades.

Introducing us to leaders in the code development processes who provide explanations on design and the drivers for such designs.

Reassuring us with content on some of the best practices and experiences you may encounter along the way. We particularly liked the technical advice offered by Sarah Purdy who is a technical advisor for Microsoft Dynamics. She pointed out that users should not be troubled with the not responding messages in GP Utilities.

Horizons Approach with Quality Essentials Suite Creates Upgrades with Ease

Our solution for quality management is not sensitive to code versions of the Dynamics products. In fact, it is not even sensitive to requiring a Dynamics product at all. However, our manufacturing solution does have that sensitivity and we have put tremendous effort into ensuring all of our solutions are compatible with the latest release of DynamicsGP.

We see new code versions as a great opportunity for our customers to gain even more value from their software investments. So, we work hard in the months before a new code release to understand and anticipate changes to determine where we can take advantage of product improvements and leverage better outcomes for our end users.

Most of our customers are manufacturers and, frankly, manufacturers are not well known for their interest in being on the leading edge or early adopters. But I certainly hope that we will see many of them move forward with their upgrades in the coming months and that they will do so encouraged by the broad support of the user groups and the knowledge resources that affords them.

Not a member of the User Group? Find out today if there is chapter in your area that you can join.

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