Your business runs on a variety of software. So does ours. So do most. And it’s pretty common knowledge that software has versions and upgrades. Every now and then a new version of software comes out, and our clients ask us if they should upgrade.
If you’re faced with a new version of your software and you’re asking yourself, “Should I upgrade my software?” here are a few guiding questions we always recommend you ask yourself:
Is the current version of my software doing everything I need it to do?
You don’t need the latest and greatest just for the sake of it. If your software at its current version is meeting all of your needs, you might want to just leave it until a version comes out that will really make it worth your while to upgrade.
Am I missing out on anything important by not upgrading?
It’s not uncommon to invest in a software that does nearly everything you want except that one darn thing they promised would be coming out soon. We’ve been there. If upgrading your software finally gets you certain features and functionalities that could really benefit you, maybe you do want to upgrade.
Is my software at its current version still supported?
Software vendors have lifecycles for how they maintain and patch their products. Your software version has a certain predetermined date at which the vendor will stop pushing patches and updates. We typically call this the “end of life” for a product. The vendor discontinues improving upon the software and will also end most general support or troubleshooting. This is generally the time we recommend you upgrade because those patches and updates are designed to plug holes or vulnerabilities hackers can exploit to gain access to your systems.
Additionally, when software reaches the end of life, finding help to maintain or fix it can be a bit more challenging or more expensive. Some vendors will charge an extra fee, some won’t help at all.
To learn more about this and other challenges with using outdated technology, check out our blog post about how it might be costing you more.
Will the software upgrade be compatible with the rest of my systems?
You probably won’t be able to answer this just off the top of your head. Do you fully understand how your technology interacts? Do you know what software integrates with what? Does your ERP tie into your CRM, for example?
There are few things more painful than implementing a software upgrade, breaking a bunch of your mission-critical functionalities because of incompatibility, and then having to roll back to your previous state. We always stress the importance of due diligence before starting a project.
Am I ready for subscription-based software?
Many software vendors are moving to a subscription-based model for software licensing. Instead of buying a box one time and using it until you need a new version, you pay monthly and use it as long as you’re paying.
In doing this, you can eliminate a lot of large, one-time expenses by spreading them out as predictable, regular costs. You can also keep up easier with the latest versions of software. Upgrading and downgrading your package level is also easier, so if you’re in a fast growing company, it’s a simpler process to add users or functionalities.
However, subscription-based software is typically licensed per user, not by machine. That can trip our clients up sometimes. Do your research on what your software agreement gets you and make sure it satisfies all your needs.