PERSONALLY, I MYSELF have never installed a new, upgraded version of an enterprise software system. Not ERP, CRM, SCM nor any other three-letter software suite. I’ve never had to explain to my boss why I wanted to spend a small fortune on software he thinks he’s already paid for. I’ve never had to sell a new way of working to an army of cranky users or face an ominous desupport deadline.
It does not sound like fun. It sounds like something nobody would look forward to with anything approximating relish.
Sort of like writing this editor’s letter.
Now, I knew I was supposed to write this letter. I’ve known it for weeks. But, somehow, I never got around to it.
You see, I find writing these letters difficult. And because I do, I procrastinate.
Finally, the drop-dead, no-more-excuses deadline arrived, and here I am, up against it, doing the best I can.
And that feels, I suspect, a bit like doing an enterprise software upgrade.
In this issue’s cover story, “Enterprise Software Upgrades: Less Pain, More Gain,” Executive Editor Christopher Koch makes the point that if upgrades (like editor’s letters) are a fact of life (and they are), it behooves CIOs to plan for them and not be driven by the vendor’s desupport deadline. In fact, those CIOs whose upgrades actually added value to their enterprise (a consummation devoutly to be wished) reported that they spent more time preparing for them?selling the project internally, getting approval and funding, sounding out line-of-business leaders and end users, analyzing their customized code and current business processes, and deciding on desirable new functionalities?than they did installing them.
It turns out that there is an emerging set of best practices that can transform the heretofore painful obligation to upgrade your enterprise software from a burden to an opportunity. And you can start learning about them on Page 46.
It still doesn’t sound like a lot fun, but it’s better than throwing your company into turmoil as that desupport deadline approaches?only to realize in the clear, cold light of morning that you’ve done a great deal of work for very little gain and there’s another deadline looming just around the corner.
Which reminds me….