Every time your team finally gets used to the current version of the software you depend on, the company announces another upgrade. Switching to a new version of your legacy tech products is no simple task. Upgrades to enterprise software products can cost up to 30% of the product’s original price.
They routinely take anywhere from 400 to 500 hours of work, and you have to pay for every hour someone works on the upgrade. Making a change of this magnitude makes the most sense to do over a weekend to minimize disruption, meaning some of those hours will incur overtime costs. The more complicated the upgrade will be, technically the more effort will go into both completing the upgrade and coordinating everyone who has to work on it.
This is all true even if everything goes precisely according to plan. Every application upgrade also brings an element of risk. Every time you take an application down to change something, you take the risk that it won’t come back up. That would mean even more time, work, cost, and disruption to your business.
All this is made even worse by how common upgrades now are. The average time between tech upgrades used to be three years in the 1990s. Now it’s two years or less.
You Can’t Skip Upgrades
For all the trouble they bring, application upgrades are a necessary part of the business. Any time you procrastinate updating your systems to a new version of a product, you inch closer to the end-of-life (EOL) date for the product, when the vendor stops providing any support for it.
The last thing you want is for your business to be dependent on a product that gets no support. What’s even worse is using one that’s vulnerable to security concerns because you aren’t getting the benefit of the security patches included in each new update. You do not want to be held responsible for a hack or data breach that occurs because you dragged your feet on upgrading a product.
If that’s not enough reason, product upgrades also add new features. That’s one of the main points of them. Upgrades often make the software faster—up to 20% faster in some cases. Every day you wait to complete the upgrade, you lose out on features that could be increasing your company’s productivity.
5 Ways to Make Upgrades Less Painful
Upgrades don’t have to sting as much moving forward as they have in the past. By making a few key changes in how you manage your technology, you can make future upgrades faster and easier.
1. Move to the cloud.
Moving to the cloud will take some time upfront, but once your main tech systems are on the cloud, all your future updates will be easier.
One of the big time sinks of upgrading a piece of technology is reconfiguring the product’s connections to all the other tools your company depends on. Cloud tools are built with orchestration between products as the primary component, which means you’ll spend far less time on that part of the process.
Furthermore, with some cloud solutions, including Codefactori, you only pay for the resources you’re using at any given moment. In addition to the savings from cutting out hours of labor, you also save by only paying for what you need.
2. Automate as much as possible.
Another benefit of moving to the cloud is that it makes automating tasks a lot easier. Analyze the processes involved in an upgrade and look for any opportunities to automate tasks that you do over and over again. The more you automate, the less time you’ll spend, and each task you’re able to cut out of the process now saves you time with future updates as well.
3. Minimize unnecessary customizations.
Companies commonly engineer an array of customizations for legacy tech systems in order to make the product work for the particular use cases you need it for. Sometimes those customizations add a significant amount of value and need to be kept, but other times they’re serving to make your upgrades much more difficult while not providing enough utility to make it worth it.
Take a close look at the customizations you have now and question which are actually important to the way your company does business. Are there other places you can achieve the functionality customization provides that will ultimately cost you less, or can your team live without it entirely? If a simple change to your business processes makes the customization unimportant, it will save you considerable time and effort to scrap dealing with it when switching to the new version of the product.
4. Consider if an upgrade or a new product is the best choice.
At a certain point, you get used to relying on a particular product and stop considering if it’s really still the best option for your company. A costly, time-consuming upgrade is a good time to consider if the product is still the best choice to meet your needs. You may be able to spend a comparable amount on a competitor’s product that turns out to work better for your company.
5. Use the right cloud hosting software.
To get the best benefits of moving to the cloud, you need to use the right software. To make upgrades simpler, it should:
- Be easily customizable
- Provide proper security
- Make frequent backups
- Be fully managed
The right cloud software features can solve a lot of upgrade headaches. Codefactori provides all these features, and it also applies security upgrades for top vendors automatically within 48 hours of them being released. You get the protection and features you need, with a vastly increased ease of use.