Questions to Ask Before Software Upgrades

by Sean Ross

2 min read

Software companies regularly release new versions of their software. You don’t want to upgrade your software just for the sake of it, but you can’t afford to let old technology hamper the growth of your business. Before you decide to upgrade your business software, ask yourself these questions.

What Changes Are in the New Version?

New software versions usually come with some new features, but sometimes these new features are just bells and whistles that don’t offer much value to your business. Also, software companies may remove certain existing features from the software, and if you use these features a lot, you may feel lost after the upgrade. Before upgrading software, research the details of the changes in the new version. Only upgrade if the new features will help you perform tasks more efficiently or if the software company no longer supports the current version.

Can Your Business Afford the Upgrade?

Some software upgrades come with a hefty price tag, but this doesn’t mean you should automatically skip these upgrades. Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to weigh the upgrade cost against the benefits you’ll gain from the upgrade. If your business relies heavily on certain software, you may want to include an upgrade budget in your business’s overall budget each year. You don’t want to be stuck with legacy software that doesn’t help you do your job just because you don’t have the funds to upgrade it.

Will You Need to Train Your Employees?

Another factor you should consider before you upgrade is whether you’ll need to retrain the employees who use the software. If the new version is very different from the existing one, there may be a learning curve before they can get used to it. Research the new version of the software and ask your employees what they think. If a trial version is available, maybe they could try it out before you make your upgrade decision.

Is the New Version Compatible With Your System?

It can be disastrous to find out after an upgrade that the new version doesn’t run properly on your operating system or that it doesn’t integrate with your other software. Make sure that you understand the specifications of the new version before you go ahead with the upgrade. If you’re upgrading a major piece of software, consider performing the upgrade on a test system first. If everything goes smoothly, then you can roll it out to all the computers in the company. To prevent data loss, always back up your files before an upgrade. You may also want to create an image backup of each computer that will be upgraded. If something goes wrong with the upgrade, you can undo it by restoring the image. Remember you don’t have to upgrade a software as soon as a new version comes out, especially when the current version serves you well. Evaluate the costs and risks involved with the upgrade to consider whether it’s worthwhile for your business.

References & Resources

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