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It may not be a medically recognized condition, but a deep-seated fear of upgrading software is rife in the asset finance industry. And putting off an upgrade could be bad for your business’s long-term health.
Over time, software always evolves: to handle larger business volumes, improve the client experience, replace custom development and enhancements with standard features, drive efficiencies, address security issues and meet fast-changing regulations. Without the latest version you may struggle to get the best from your platform, adopt innovative technologies or meet the latest requirements of both customers and regulators.
So, whether your software faces rising security risks for personal data, is missing out on new features or is simply no longer supported by the provider, it’s always best practice to upgrade. Plus, the more regularly you upgrade, the easier, faster and cheaper you’ll make the process, as the delta of changes between the versions will be smaller. But still, you may resist taking the plunge and signing up for the newest release.
You’ll have good reasons. Software upgrades are typically long projects that can involve complex processes, multiple integration points to internal and third-party systems, large volumes of data and more – taking time, disrupting operations and costing money. Deep down, you may worry that your system won’t work as well as before. So, above all, you’ll need resources, especially for testing the new version.
No wonder that asset finance firms often cast best practice aside and put upgrades on the back burner.
But why let upgrade-phobia win when there’s already a cure? For easier upgrades and faster testing, look no further than managed services, as delivered by the most innovative software partners.
With services for upgrades and testing, you start by agreeing with the partner how many times and how regularly you’d like to upgrade your software. Then, the partner not only manages each and every upgrade on your behalf but will also test that the new version is compatible with your data and your specific configuration of the software.
All the tests happen in the partner’s own dedicated testing environment, where the upgraded software will be run as your firm would use it – covering all your different service and process scenarios.
Issues will be fixed before you receive the software. All that will be left for you to do is validate the upgrade environment in your own user acceptance testing environment and give the “thumbs up” to go live.
And most critically, the testing never ends. As your underlying software solution evolves with each release, your partner will work with you to keep your testing portfolio up to date. This means that you can upgrade your software with confidence that the latest software is not only fit for purpose but also aligned to the way your business uses it.
There are many knock-on benefits to this approach. Namely, upgrade and testing services will help you:
- Reduce costs and risk
All the testing and upgrades are carried out for a single fixed monthly fee with minimum disruption to your operations. You’ll therefore convert what could be significant capital expenditure into a lower operating cost, with no unexpected hits to your budget – and none of the risk of upgrading the software yourself.
- Save time and effort
With continuous testing incorporated into the software development cycle, your partner will identify and action any regression issue. When you manage software yourself, it can take weeks or months – and a lot of back-and-forth communication – to process this kind of request.
- Improve visibility, control and return on investment
Regular meetings between you and the software partner will keep you up to date with scenarios that have failed and issues that have been fixed, and help you plan the next upgrade. Tapping into your partner’s knowledge and experience, it will also be an opportunity to discuss how new updates, future roadmaps and best practices can meet your business’s demands and keep you ahead of the competition and market changes. Being able to run testing and upgrades on your own dedicated environment, and at the schedule your business requires, will also give you an edge over competitors running multi-tenanted one-size-fits-all environments. You are in control of what gets added, and when it gets added.
Ultimately, regular upgrades and testing are critical to the smooth, effective running of your business and the services you provide. But managing the IT tasks yourself doesn’t provide competitive advantage.
By handing over those tasks to a partner, you’ll get all the bells and whistles of up-to-date software without the many technical headaches.
What better antidote to upgrade-phobia?