Imagine trading your current smartphone for an early 2000’s flip-phone for a full week. For seven days, you’d be unable to enjoy all the simple conveniences that you’ve become so reliant on over the last several years. No access to the internet for checking email. No using an app to pre-order your coffee or lunch. No easy access to record HD photos and videos to preserve memories with your friends and family. This is precisely the situation you put your company in when you don’t keep your software current from year to year. The longer you procrastinate upgrading your software, the further you’ll fall behind competitors.
You’ve invested in your software, and as a part of that investment, you have access to features and improved functionalities year-over-year. By not upgrading your software regularly, you’re leaving part of that investment on the table!
Here are our top five reasons to implement a culture of consistently upgrading your software when needed:
Older Versions Will Not Be Supported Forever
With all the third-party applications that exist in today’s market, every major company needs to ensure its platform is compatible. This is why, generally, software that is older than five years becomes “unsupported.” This means the software provider will no longer apply bug fixes or technical support to these versions. It is too expensive for a company to maintain and guarantee that their product from five or more years ago will work with the modern interfaces that are constantly changing. Partnering with your Customer Success Manager (CSM) to verify which software versions are currently supported will provide all the information and guidance you need.
You’ll also need to make sure the software you’re currently utilizing can communicate with other versions, both old and new, as well as with the complimentary software your team is using. Not only internally, but externally. Any vendors, customers, or manufacturers that you send information to need to be able to open and read your files, and vice-versa. Once you’ve confirmed with your CSM what software versions are compatible with the version you’re currently utilizing, make sure to communicate that internally and with your partners to ensure that all data can be effectively shared and opened.
You’ll also need to ensure that your hardware can support your new software. Obviously, newer versions of software work well on newer versions of hardware. Older hardware often cannot support the new functions of new software, whether it’s because of performance, age, or capability. Your CSM can meet with you and IT to ensure your hardware compatibility before you start your software upgrade to ensure you don’t run into issues or delays.
Now that we’re past the necessary aspects, let’s move on to where you start to see some real value in your software investment. By developing a culture of staying up-to-date with the latest software, you’ll constantly be able to leverage the newest technology. New functionalities within the tools you’ve already purchased will give your users the ability to tackle their day-to-day tasks more efficiently. CSM’s get excited about new version features and are eager to introduce them to your team! These new tools can significantly reduce their workload – who wouldn’t be excited about that? With staffing challenges continuing to impact employers, companies need a competitive edge to not only enable their employees to be more efficient but to keep them happy as well.
Less Disruption for Users
Upgrading software can be a huge undertaking, whether your business is family-run or employs thousands. In the past, end-users have endured large amounts of downtime during a software upgrade. Software providers have taken note and improved the overall migration experience making it easier for companies no matter how big or small. In large part, the upgrade process is now much more streamlined to ensure any custom settings that the user had in place stay with them onto the new version. This can be an intimidating process as software is complex and custom settings are critical, but your CSM is there to partner with you from start to finish. Your CSM will provide that added security and assurance you need by consulting with the necessary technical experts whenever needed.
Yet another way upgrades can be made easier is to do them more often. For example, Company A that upgrades once every 4-8 years will experience more issues than Company B, who upgrades every other year. Company A will run into the following, preventable issues: unable to transfer custom settings, need to perform multiple incremental upgrades to get to the latest version, and will need to ensure their old hardware is within specifications. Not to mention, their users will most likely be overwhelmed and disoriented by the new interface and tools. In comparison, Company B will have fewer variables at risk by committing to a culture of continuously updating/upgrading software. By constantly staying up-to-date, Company B won’t be burdened by extensive, unplanned downtime due to a lack of upgrading.
Updates are Good Too
Outside of software upgrading from year to year, small updates/patches/hotfixes are another important part of keeping your team running smoothly and your tools in working order. These are smaller, tested fixes that mostly reduce the technical issues and enhances a user’s quality of life in applications. Technical issues result in technical support cases, which we all know can slow down production. So, if your company is not yet ready for an upgrade, or if an upgrade is not available yet, updates are always good to apply, especially if you are experiencing something abnormal with the tool.
Reasons You Shouldn’t Upgrade
If your company policy is to stay on the same version, your hands are tied. Although an upgrade may seem like their best interest, you need to voice these reasons to management so they can voice this to theirs. Otherwise, it’s best to stay on the same version as everyone else’s to avoid version incompatibility or other issues. A lot of companies’ IT even restrict their users from having administrative privileges to install anything.
Another reason you may not upgrade is due to other software integrations or version compatibility. If one software you rely on only works with the older version of the software you are trying to upgrade, your hands are once again tied. You either need to upgrade both software at the same time or not upgrade at all. Just because the latest software came out, it doesn’t mean that you are ready to install it.
We’re Here for You
It’s clear there are many benefits to upgrading, but we understand the process can be overwhelming. It’s important to remember your CSM is in your corner, ready to support and guide you through the navigation of implementing a culture of consistently upgrading and maximizing your use of the software your company has invested in.
If you are not already partnered with a dedicated CSM, connect with our team of knowledgeable, experienced experts, and let’s work together to form the best plan for your software upgrade. Contact our team today: firstname.lastname@example.org