A few days ago, while travelling home, I decided to pop into a well-known UK supermarket to pick up some essentials. As I walked into the supermarket I spotted a huge sign at the end of every aisle that read: ‘From 8pm until 12am this evening this store will only accept cash payments. This is due to a software update that will not only make your shopping experience better but improve our reliability to you our customers. We apologies for any inconvenience.’
Being part of the software industry and being in front of our customers at regular intervals, I probably took a little bit more notice than anyone else did in that supermarket. What immediately struck me was not the timescale (knowing how you can essentially upgrade to SYSPRO 7 Update 1 in less time!), but the fact that whoever planned this system upgrade decided to share the ‘why’ with the customers as a way of conveying and justifying the upgrade. Something which often gets overlooked because it’s not deemed important or even necessary.
Often as a customer I’ve been on the end of the phone and heard the operator make comments such as ‘Sorry its taking so long, we’ve had a system upgrade and it’s slow’ or ‘We can’t deal with your call at the moment, the system is down for maintenance’ or I’ve received a random email to tell me a banking or web service won’t be available during a specific period.
This is because in today’s 24-7, always-on, connected world our minds struggle to cope with the unavailability of systems that form part of our daily lives. Even if we don’t fully understand, we still want to know why they aren’t available.
One of my driving forces and a point that I constantly evangelize about is keeping on top of software updates. The only fact that I am more passionate about is making sure that the customer is kept informed and understands the ‘why’. This is so that our customers can appreciate the reasoning behind keeping SYSPRO up-to-date: with better understanding they can reap all of the benefits and take more comprehensive ownership of the software they choose to utilize.
Upgrades are something that SYSPRO handles really well and deserves a lot of credit for. When SYSPRO release a port update its often timely, accompanied by additional features and supplemented by in-system release notes with details of each fix and enhancement. Additionally, they also provide a physical document to support any new features. This enables the administrator to assess the installation impact prior to application and allows them to convey this information to the business and its customers.
So instead of saying ‘for the next 4 hours SYSPRO will be down’, the business can state something much more positive and along the lines of ‘for the next 10 minutes SYSPRO will be unavailable. But during this time, 3 new functional areas are being applied that will allow us to better service our customers and suppliers.’
SYSPRO is also one of the only solutions that has special ports that in a tightly controlled software environment allow you to take a slice of the benefits without affecting the rest of the system.
If you are mulling over upgrading or keeping on top of your port updates, don’t – you have a whole lot of value to unlock by doing so!