Your enterprise systems require lots of loving care.

In fact, best of breed enterprise systems are a lot like the sculpture in this picture.

They have multiple components, wired together piecemeal, but providing meaningful connection that drives the whole.

The individual systems are the canoes.  The wires between them represent the interfaces, which connect the systems together.

The wires really don’t look like much – in fact, they are barely discernible. They don’t have a lot of mass or volume, but in truth – they are arguably more important and more functional than the separate components – or the canoes.

They are the lifeblood.

Surgery for your enterprise systems

Now, let’s say that your vendor releases Blue Canoe Version 2.55.

It’s your job (or oftentimes our job) to surgically extract what you need from the existing structure, while maintaining it’s integrity overall.

Quite a feat if you dare – not unlike that childhood game of Jenga that challenges players to remove the structural components of a makeshift ‘building’ without allowing it to topple.

The reality is that your vendors are releasing major upgrades every two to three years. They do so because it is fundamentally necessary for their business model. Old versions need to become obsolete so that they revenues continue to grow :-).

And each time there is an upgrade, it means that you (or sometimes we) have extract and replace 30% to 50% of your canoes.

Every. Single. Year.

How to manage surgery

Managing these upgrades can be extremely:

  • Time consuming and burdensome to your internal IT resources
  • Complex and sophisticated, requiring expertise that you simply don’t have
  • Costly

Some companies opt to avoid the ‘medicine’, dodge the upgrades and create patchwork solutions that may buy them time, but ultimately cause greater damage.

Other companies deploy internal resources, which can result in errors, system failures and backlogs that are difficult to fix.

We recommend contracting with a firm that has expertise in the system at hand. It saves you time, money and headache.

Your turn

Have you had bad experiences upgrading your enterprise systems? What best practice strategies have you deployed to manage changes and upgrades? Share your thoughts in the comments section below, and don’t forget to like and tweet this post if you found it useful!