Maintaining the software that runs your business is like keeping up with the scheduled maintenance for your car. We often receive those reminder letters from the car dealership informing us that it’s time for a tune-up. Or maybe we receive a coupon to “buy three tires, get the fourth free!”. Although tune-ups and new tires may seem inconvenient and often low on the priority list, we all know that they are necessary to keep our cars working and running smoothly. Your enterprise software applications are no different. Your company probably receives similar reminder letters informing you to “download the latest version now!” and to “check out the new features!” Unfortunately, these new versions and enhancements are often viewed as either unnecessary or a low priority and, as a result, are often placed on the shelf to collect dust.
Here are some common misconceptions and resulting repercussions when updates are “shelved”:
#1) “I’ll just upgrade to the newest version when I see something I need.”
The misconception here is that you can “skip” versions and just upgrade to the latest and greatest version of the software. However, many applications require consecutive version upgrades. This can lead to longer upgrade times, compatibility issues, and downtime for your business. Even when there is no consecutive version upgrade requirement, the process will take longer, require more testing and validation, and inevitably result in more complications.
#2) “I’ll just renew my cancelled maintenance and support plan when I need to upgrade.”
This can be a costly mistake. Software companies use those fees to add new features and make any necessary fixes to the software. They are not about to let you renew your maintenance and support agreement without paying back maintenance and support fees and even penalties for the time period you were not on the plan.
#3) “I don’t have any bugs that need to be fixed and there’s nothing special in these updates. It’s not worth the time for our IT department to upgrade.”
Read the software update documentation in detail. Items like IRS 1099 forms and fixed asset tax depreciation rules and regulations change annually. In addition, think in terms of how much time the update would save the people using the software, not how much time it will take your IT department to upgrade. You’d be surprised how many perceived “insignificant” changes can lead to improved efficiencies and time saved for the people who use the software.
#4) “Let’s cut this expense out of the budget. It’s a waste of money.”
Besides the aforementioned software updates, maintenance is often bundled with support, allowing you to contact the software company if and when you need to. In addition, these fees often entitle you to exclusive access to training sessions at reduced rates, sponsored events, community forums, user groups, knowledgebases, newsletters and other valuable resources.
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