Updates, Upgrades & New Releases!

January 16th, 2014

With new versions of hardware and software being released every month, what does it mean for your organization?

Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Sr. Vice President  and COO at SafeSourcing.

Recently I reviewed an email from Microsoft about the latest version of Windows letting me know all of the new improvements they have made.  We all constantly are bombarded with new versions of all types of mobile technology.  I even read a trade article recently about Oracle’s important new Security and Alert Patches. 

With so many updates being released for both hardware and software it begs the question of an organization of how to keep up with everything; staying current while balancing the costs and disruption to the business.

Today’s  blog will focus on a few areas to consider before making the move to implement an upgrade.

New Features and Functions – Every new release of hardware comes with two varieties of changes; new features and fixes/improvements.  New features are original offerings that the hardware or software did not offer before while fixes and improvements generally focus on making the current offering a little better and stable.  As a business, the new offering must be evaluated to determine if presents changes that will allow it operate more efficiently than it currently does.

Upgrade process – The process to upgrade to a new version must also be carefully considered.  Some upgrades will install right on top of the versions currently in place or for hardware, it may only require a firmware or software upgrade.  These types of installations are much less intrusive and easier to implement across the organization.  In other cases the new version will require a complete uninstall and reconfiguration in order to use it.  These are less common and usually provide justification with the new features being offered to do it.  Disruption to an organization is critical and the risks must be weighed against the reward of the new features.

VAR Assistance – Many hardware and software agreements made with a companies’ Value Added Resellers (VARs) come with a certain level of technical support services to make upgrades such as these.  Understanding those contracts and agreements in advance may prove to be the difference for companies whose IT staffs are usually already swamped.  Getting these types of services is also a key thing to keep in mind when negotiating new contracts with your VARs.

Current Version – Knowing the current version of software or hardware implemented is a final area to consider.  This is so important because if the software or hardware has not been upgraded in a while, there may be several sets of features that the company can take advantage of beside the ones in the latest version.  Many suppliers will discontinue active support of older versions of hardware and software after a period of time so if the company is in danger of discontinued support or if it has been several versions since a group of hardware or software has been updated, this could affect the decision on whether to proceed with the upgrade.

Evaluating all of these factors will help your company determine whether it is time to perform a hardware or software upgrade.  Depending on the cost of the upgrade, this may also be a good time to evaluate other technology providers for these products.  You will generally find an incumbent more willing to negotiate additional services and new vendors hungry to win your business.

For information on how SafeSourcing can help you during this evaluation process or to help provide new vendors to review, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  

We look forward to your comments.

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