Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 10 seconds

Upgrade Surprises

 

Have you ever received a gift that was nice, but wasn’t exactly what you were hoping for? Or even worse, how about spending big bucks on a product and bringing it home only to discover it not only requires assembly but also accessories you didn’t even know you needed?

I think most of us have been through one of those scenarios, and I think you’ll agree they’re frustrating. That’s how we felt after a translator upgrade a few years ago. It’s not that there weren’t some cool new features and improved processing speed. It was just that it didn’t do some things we thought it should do, some things it did differently from how the previous version did it, and some capabilities just didn’t work out. It was a real learning experience.

So, what did we do about it? Well, if you’ve been through a tough implementation or upgrade, you know the goal is to get through it as soon as possible so you can get to some semblance of normal. After that, it’s a matter of logging issues, prioritizing, and making decisions. As you know, some of the gaps are apparent from the get-go, others take a while to show themselves as transactions from different partners flow through, while others may take a longer period to become apparent because they were pieces of functionality you hoped to use in future development. After our upgrade, we ended up with an extensive prioritized punch-list we had to do something with by hook or crook. The questions then became, how do we get this done? What are our options?

For functionality that’s very specific to your business or process, I think you recognize it’s not going to be part of a base package and you’ll need to do some development. But for more basic processing that would seem to be universally needed, such as a report you use in dealing with 997s, you typically have 3 options:

1. Do some development in your shop (or outsource it)
2. Work with the vendor to get it released quickly in an update
3. Look outside at packaged add-ons developed by 3rd parties

We had success with #1, used #2 at times but had to deal with lead times, and heavily investigated #3 for certain situations. There’s not a magic formula out there to tell you which direction to turn, but just knowing the alternatives that are out there is important.

What’s been your experience with upgrades and new implementations? What did you find lacking that you had to address? What did you do about it? Please drop me a note at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your story. I plan to follow this up with some specifics about options. I promise to keep your correspondence confidential.

You know, I still chuckle when I recall a certain ERP vendor telling us that EDI was “plug ‘n’ play” with his package. If we only knew then what we know now……

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