Upgrade Pain

Time to Upgrade?

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Well, you’ve finally hit the wall.The upgrade that you have been avoiding needs to be addressed.The vendor has been threatening to stop supporting your version, which is now two full versions behind.

There is a great temptation to simply get the upgrade over with and then introduce new features to the users later.After all, there is a lot of homework involved in investigating and testing new features—why not take the path of least resistance?Because if you do, the upgrade won’t be worth the time and money you spent on it.

Here are Six Reasons for Making the Upgrade Worthwhile:

Reason #1 - Phase II

Remember the “Phase II” list that started during the implementation?It had a number of items on there that end users wanted at the time, but were not absolute “must haves” for the go-live.You put those items on the Phase II list and then went back to your day job.Many of those requests may now be obsolete, but you’ll have more credibility with your users if you prove to them that the Phase II list wasn’t a black hole where their issues languished.

Reason #2 – Open Issues List

This goes hand-in-hand with the Phase II list.Users have been complaining about different issues since the date of the go-live.The most recent requests are topmost in your mind, but some of the ongoing issues should be reviewed as well.In particular, issues that crop up consistently at month, quarter or year-end should be addressed.Combine the Open Issues List with the Phase II List and vet it with your users.That will ensure that everyone is in agreement about what benefits the upgrade should provide to make it worth doing.

Reason #3 – New Features

This is the toughest one.You know about the new features for which your users have been clamoring, but what about the other enhancements to the OMS?If your vendor has a good-size client list, chances are they have added some features you may want now or in the near future.You’ll need to understand those new features to see if they are helpful to your team. Set aside some time to go through the vendor documentation, generate your questions and meet with your vendor representative.In most cases, the vendor rep will need to do some homework and/or set up a meeting with the Product Management rep to get you the answers you need, so allow enough time in your planning process.

Reason #4 – Retired Features/Bug Fixes

Vendors often retire features that are receiving little use, particularly if they get in the way of newer functionality.Most vendors determine a feature to be “little used” by polling their own sales and account management teams; client input may be sporadic and anecdotal. If you don’t take the time to carefully review the release notes and question your account representative on anything that is unclear, you could be moving to a version that doesn’t support the workflows of your end users.In fact, we at IMP have occasionally run into clients who had workflows built around a bug in the system.When the bug was “fixed” their current procedure no longer worked.

Reason #5 – The Workarounds

Ugh--the workarounds.We’ve all done them to get around bugs in the vendor’s products, gaps in functionality or just to satisfy an important end user.They may be scripts running in the background or triggers on tables.Odds are, you were well-aware of them at the time of implementation, but now is the time to revisit them and determine whether you can clear some of them out.Otherwise you negate the primary benefit of a vendor-supplied product by having a system that they cannot support.

Reason #6 – The Business

The end goal is to have the best commercially-available OMS to support your firm’s needs.Now that you know the product better, you can capitalize on its strongest features and ensure that it is the best solution for your end users.That way, when they return from the industry conference, enthusing about the newest, coolest, latest product they just saw, you’ll have your answers ready—and be able to avoid another implementation.

ABOUT IMP CONSULTING

IMP Consulting works with buy side investment management firms and hedge funds to help you get the most out of the systems that support investment workflows. With extensive expertise in OMS, EMS, Compliance and Accounting Systems, we help firms improve their efficiency and keep costs down.

Our team’s intimate knowledge of market-leading products and our industry contacts keep IMP on the inside track of the best products to use and the top vendors in the industry. The net result: a team uniquely qualified to efficiently and expertly match your needs with the full capabilities of your investment management systems.