6 things you need to know to simplify your upgrades

Executive shaking hands with colleague

Unlike some headlines on the internet, I’ll try to actually deliver on the promise of my title. But first, let’s take a step back.

There’s something that people always ask whenever the topic comes up: “What is the most important thing to remember when it comes to upgrading OnBase?”

Blame it on the diet industry, blame it on spam, blame it on clickbait. The result is the same; modern existence and sneaky websites have trained us to look for that “one quick fix” or “magic bullet” that will cause all our past problems to go away and open the door to unimaginable riches and gains.

We often fall for attention-grabbing or misleading headlines because in the age of information, we have become exhausted by options. An unthought-of shortcut or a one-size-fits-all solution has become a popular idea because, sometimes, we just want someone or something else to do the thinking for us.

When it comes to upgrading OnBase, we recognize the fact that our customers know their solutions and businesses best. That means we won’t presume to try and sell you a magic cure-all. It also means what’s true and what works for an OnBase system at a large hospital network won’t work exactly the same as a mid-size university, or a small government agency for that matter.

So, while we know we can’t do your thinking for you, we do our best to make sure your business decisions are as well-informed as they can possibly be.

The power of choice in your software upgrade

The solution diversity and organizational differences in our customers is what makes them unique, and the highly configurable nature of OnBase is what makes our solutions work so universally well for more than 15,500 customers. How fitting it is that our upgrades themselves offer unmatched configurability? Very.

The flip side is that with diversity of options comes complexity, and complexity can become overwhelming. It can happen to rookie admins who have never upgraded, just as it can happen to a seasoned admin who has experienced a difficult software upgrade with a less user-friendly solution in the past. This can cause organizations to delay or put off an upgrade indefinitely.

Please don’t let this happen to you.

From increased efficiency and productivity to security and software corrections, to staying ahead of the technological curve and maximizing your return on investment, the reasons to stay on a reasonably new version of OnBase are abundant.

To make the most of the choices available to you, I would highly recommend – for anything but the most basic OnBase implementations – you make use of the incremental parallel upgrade process (IPUP) method. At first glance, the IPUP method appears to be much more complex, but among the many benefits to this methodology is that it breaks an enterprise software upgrade into simple, consumable bites.

As the saying goes, “What’s the best way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

The simple 6

While it’s important to read and familiarize yourself with our upgrade documentation, it is possible that during all that education, the most important details could get lost in the shuffle.

So here are the six things you need to know about upgrades, listed in no particular order:

1. Upgrade first in your test environment

You do have one, right? Specifically, one that matches production as closely as possible. If not, take steps to implement a test environment before starting your upgrade.

2. Have a Project Manager with a preplanned upgrade timeline

If your organization does not have the resources for a dedicated PM, this may end up being your OnBase admin. Figure out a schedule for your upgrade ahead of time and adjust if necessary.

3. Check the Mitigating Risk in OnBase Upgrades whitepaper – every time

If you have IDOL, HL7, DDS, encrypted disk groups, WorkView, electronic signatures, electronic forms… I could go on. But the easiest way to say it is that for basically anything outside of the simplest scan/store/retrieve systems, you should check the IPUP whitepaper for unique considerations whenever you upgrade.

4. Implement a configuration freeze

From the moment you log in with the latest version of configuration and upgrade the database to the conclusion of your upgrade process, you must halt all major configuration changes. This does not include basic configuration items such as creating users, doc types or keywords, but it should include almost everything more complex than that.

5. App Server/Client must match

Make sure any application matches versions with the App Server it’s connecting to.

6. End user acceptance testing

One of the biggest lessons learned from our annual internal OnBase upgrades is to have a plan for end user testing, stick to it, and review and improve it after each iteration.

So while there is no “one weird trick” to great OnBase upgrades, taking account for these six considerations – regardless of solution size, complexity or industry – will undoubtedly lead you to simpler, greater OnBase upgrades than you’ve ever thought possible.

And that leads to an improved user experience, happier management and a more efficient organization.

Mike Current

Mike Current

Mike Current started at Hyland in 2010 as a technical support rep and cloud engineer for Global Cloud Services. He is currently an Infrastructure Admin in Quality Assurance. Mike tests configuration, runs projects such as Release Candidate and the OnBase 16 Beta Program, manages the “Mitigating Risk in OnBase Upgrades” whitepaper and evangelizes synchronous and incremental parallel upgrades. Outside of OnBase, Mike loves spending time with his family, working out and playing Xbox. He can often be found sipping a whisky and talking about geeky things while watching a Patriots football or Cleveland Cavaliers game.

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