Three Best Practices to Make Your Major Upgrades Run Smoothly

June 20th, 2017 by admin

There are some things in this world that nobody likes: mosquitoes, root canals, the sound of nails on a chalkboard...Major software upgrades may be pretty close to making that list. They usually come with extra work, complications, and confusing new processes. However, there are some basic things that can be done to make the whole process smoother, like properly training your employees and testing the upgrade before putting it into production. Major software upgrades can be a pain. They require more work from everyone involved. Business owners and employees are required to relearn at least part of their daily routines and IT professionals are left with bugs to work out. As dreaded as these upgrades may be, the updated security and features that they provide outweigh the pain of transitioning. There are however, some basic steps that can be taken to make the transition easier.

The Three-Step Solution to a Smooth Upgrade                         

  1. Install the software in a test environment. A test environment allows for the majority of bugs and complications to be foreseen before implementing the software throughout the entire company. Typically the upgrade license key will include the option to download the software on a non-production environment as well as the production environment to allow for testing.
  1. Thoroughly test the upgrade. The importance of this step cannot be overstated. It’s important to make sure that all the bugs are worked out before you come face-to-face with a client. If you rush the upgrade into production without proper testing, the upgrade may not work and that will take time to fix. Whether it’s a custom template that’s not working or client records that cannot be accessed, those delays means lost man hours, postponed patients and more stress than you want to handle. Proper time spent testing software can eliminate these issues and allow for a smooth transition for all of your employees. Some important things to test include:
    • All of the major processes that your company uses. Anything that your employees use on a day-to-day basis should be tested and employees should be trained as much as possible on the new processes before putting the upgrade into production.
    • As many of the less-used processes as is reasonable should be tested as well. The more you can test beforehand the less likely you are to have troubles after upgrading.
    • Be extra sure to test any custom templates and unusual plugins because these are often where issues will arise.
    • Often the upgrade will come with a predetermined checklist of items that are important to test. We highly recommend going through that list if one is provided.

Testing and training employees on the software can be time intensive but compared to the alternatives it’s worth it.

  1. Install the software in the production environment. Even with proper testing, it’s typical for some little bugs to still pop up here and there. However, the amount of disruption to your daily processes will be significantly reduced if the software has been thoroughly tested.

Additional Upgrade Tips

Some extra things to keep in mind when planning your upgrades:
  • Don’t fall behind schedule. At times upgrades may seem like they are the cause of more problems than they solve, but the important security features that come with them are important to keep up with. CA Technologies summed it up best saying “while the value-adds may seem optional, security is not. Malware and hackers evolve as fast, if not faster, than their well-meaning counterparts, and upgrades include the most up-to-date protection against threats.”
  • Don’t forget about patching! To see how these mini updates can make a huge difference check out our blog here: Why is Patching so Important?

Posted in: Tech Tips