The key to effective IT administration is change management, and that is especially important when it comes to the RightAngle upgrade. But what are the specific changes that come along with the RightAngle upgrade? As we all know, the version upgrade presents one of the biggest changes a RightAngle customer could ever face; however, it can simultaneously be one of the most difficult risks to manage, due to the complex nature of the upgrade itself, which is largely a “black box” from the software vendor. There are a number of Best Practices that we at capSpire recommend to our clients that together aid in reducing this change risk down to a minimum.
Benjamin Franklin is often credited with the quote: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” The first and most important thing is to devise a solid plan. This planning exercise begins with what we call an assessment, long before you even kick off the upgrade project. The assessment is key in the early quantification of both value and cost as it relates to the upgrade and the critical data points to present before your stakeholders on the cost-benefit evaluation of the proposal. Once the upgrade project kicks off, it is crucial to draft a solid project plan that encompasses all the work to be carried out, both technical and functional. Clearly defining and communicating the scope of the project will also aid in completing the upgrade on time and within budget.
Another Best Practice is obtaining the buy-in from your key business sponsors. No IT project goes smoothly without an active feedback loop between the IT department and its users, so it is important for the business heads to understand the value proposition of the upgrade, such that IT has the full support of the users throughout the project.
This next one is commonly overlooked and/or poorly executed: build the right team. It goes without saying you need to assemble both business and technical experts, as RightAngle implementations often require in-depth functional analysis and custom coding in .NET, SQL, etc. Those of you currently on version S9 and prior know then that there is a significant jump in technology from Powerbuilder to the .NET platform, giving all the more need to have capability in both technologies so any customization can be converted seamlessly. Sir Winston Churchill is credited with the saying: “Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” This is a reminder that your project team should ideally have experience not only in upgrading RightAngle but specifically in migrating to the version that you are considering. capSpire has successfully taken numerous clients from their existing versions to S11, S14, S15, etc., so there is a tremendous amount of knowledge that we draw from.
Finally, another Best Practice to consider when upgrading RightAngle is to leverage the upgrade project to streamline your business processes and/or reduce technical debt. You are probably aware of business processes that were put into place when RightAngle first went live in your existing version, either as a system requirement or to work around system limitations at the time. Consider also that you may have business processes today that you simply want to get rid of to reduce ongoing costs or to make your users’ lives easier. Since the upgrade is a major change to your users as it is, it presents a good opportunity to re-implement certain business processes. This is also a good time to review your technical landscape and get rid of technical debt. This technical debt often comes in the form of unused or underused infrastructure or poorly implemented code that should be rewritten, etc.
The RightAngle upgrade is a major shift indeed, but it does not need to have the “enigma” tag that people often associate it with. capSpire has many years of experience both helping clients understand this complex problem and executing the upgrade with them successfully.
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