Choose your own upgrade adventure
You are logging into work for the day. Your top priority is based on the fact that your enterprise software solution desperately needs to be upgraded.
Since you’re performing an OnBase incremental parallel upgrade process (IPUP), you’ve already upgraded your database. That was the easy part. You must now choose your next step. Will you:
A. Upgrade client machines to get your users running the latest version?
B. Upgrade backend processes?
Anyone who has performed an IPUP knows about these crossroads. Whether it’s your first IPUP or your most recent, this is one of the many decisions you’ll have to face along the path to your upgraded version of OnBase.
The branching decisions that come from an OnBase upgrade can be likened to a Choose Your Own Adventure story. If you didn’t read any of these books growing up, this was a series of stories where the reader assumes the role of an unnamed protagonist and makes choices that determine the main character’s actions and the plot’s outcome, as noted by Wikipedia.
Typically these Choose Your Own Adventure stories would have dozens of potential outcomes, ranging from a happy ending to utter disaster – which we definitely don’t want happening during your upgrade process.
Following our documentation will certainly help you to avoid utter disaster, but how do you ensure a happy ending to your upgrade process?
What do I recommend? 4 tips
As someone who documents and evangelizes the incremental parallel upgrade process – and the excellent reasons why you should upgrade – one of the joys of my job is getting into frequent conversations about upgrades. Inevitably, people ask me for my recommendations on how to upgrade.
Here’s the short version of my answer:
1. The most important first step? Back up your database.
2. This is the fact-finding stage, where you gather information on the current version of OnBase, holistically review your unique OnBase implementation, and then make the most-informed decisions and best-educated assumptions you can to form a phased plan of rolling out the upgrade.
3. Design your upgrade plan based on the information found in the fact-finding stage.
4. Finally, after you’ve executed the plan, make sure you document the process, review it regularly, and make adjustments as needed.
Those simple steps are enough information for some people. Others can’t mask their disappointment; they were hoping for more concrete steps. In other words, they wanted me to tell them their whole upgrade story. But it’s a Choose Your Own Adventure.
I would love to share with you the “story,” or secret formula for perfect OnBase upgrades, but sadly, there is no “one size fits all” upgrade solution. Perfecting an upgrade process that is tailor-made for your IT strategy and your organization is much more complex, yet ultimately much more empowering for an OnBase admin willing to put in the extra effort.
That said, here are a few more tips and tricks.
The incremental part of IPUP
An upgrade phase is basically one iterative, incremental step as part of the upgrade process as a whole.
An iteration could range anywhere from upgrading one import process or a small subset of users to a larger, sweeping upgrade of all processes or client machines. Some potential increment strategies include:
- By OnBase product module
- By department
- By business process
- By region or office location
This is where it becomes necessary to have intimate knowledge of an organization and its business processes. Remember, one of the purposes of IPUP is to create an upgrade plan that has the least impact on your end users and allows for the maximum mitigation of risks.
There isn’t any one particular upgrade phase order which we recommend. We do recommend that prior to an upgrade, you take a full inventory of your OnBase implementation, your organization and your business lifecycles, and strategically plan the order of each upgrade phase based on your own particular needs.
At the end of each phase, it may be appropriate and helpful to have a retrospective look at how the phase went to see if there is anything you would change for the next phase.
With freedom comes responsibility
Am I starting to sound like Captain America? That’s fine, because the goal of all this is to empower you with the concept of a highly configurable upgrade process. We can make suggestions, but at the end of the day, you will know your businesses better than we do and are most capable of making the right decisions toward mitigating risk and maximizing results.
The good news is, you aren’t alone in your upgrade journey. You’ve got not only your first line of support, but also the entire OnBase Community available to bounce your ideas around. Often, it’s good to hear that people have made the same choices before, using the same logic, and have had success.
So take your first steps down the path of configurable upgrades, knowing you don’t have to blaze your own trail. And arm yourself with the power and knowledge of the OnBase Community to help you make the right decisions.
Thankfully, this is a Choose Your Own Adventure story that won’t end in certain doom – as long as you take our recommendations to back up your database, follow our tips, and talk to other experts.