Top 10 Reasons to Upgrade your MultiValue Application Platform
As the leader in the MultiValue space for big data, one of the common themes we see across our existing customer base is a general slowness to upgrade to the latest release. In a world where many software updates are “pushed” regularly over the air (OTA) to your smartphone, your browser, your cable box, and even your car, it seems counterintuitive that some of the most important enterprise software in the world is “pulled” for updates and yet, not pulled very often at all. This hesitancy for organizations to stay up-to-date with a current version of their MultiValue Application Platform spans customers of all types, sizes, industries, and geographies.
We at Rocket want to ensure that our customers are getting the most value out of their support and maintenance dollars by providing the best experience, performance, and service. Upgrading the Application Platform (at least annually) should be a natural and expected part of any business that has end-users depending on the data in that system. This post is designed to open the dialogue on the top 10 reasons you should upgrade and to address misconceptions of not upgrading regularly.
First let’s try to understand the most common misconceptions causing customers to avoid regular upgrades of their MultiValue Application Platform:
- Previous Version Reliability: Rocket’s existing MultiValue Application Platform products and support are known to be extremely robust and reliable. (This is often referred to as “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” )
- Rocket’s MultiValue Application Platform products help corporations, government agencies, educational institutions, and other organizations achieve their business goals day in, day out; however, waiting for a reason to upgrade is a risky business proposition given the speed at which software evolves.
- Rocket’s Support team is particularly effective in assisting customers with workarounds, hotfixes, and timely support feedback when issues arise. In many situations, issues are resolved without upgrading wherever possible. Why test 100 fixes in a new release, when all you need is 1 (that you know of)? Depending on years of manual workarounds (that may not be well documented), and/or several one-off patches on an outdated Application Platform version is very risky! When the employee that understands the workaround leaves your company, or when it’s time to debug issues that no one else but you are experiencing, unraveling the web of duct-tape and bailing wire around your system will cost you more time and money in the long-run. Workarounds and hotfixes offered by Rocket Support are designed to be temporary solutions to buy you time until you can upgrade to the latest generally available release that fixes these issues and more.
- Risk Avoidance: Unlike upgrading other business software in the stack, the MultiValue Application Platform is business-critical enterprise software providing the core functionality of an organization’s business or solution… timely and accurate data. Customers’ business data is critical for operational and strategic decisions. An organization that has not upgraded their Application Platform in over five years, could easily view the upgrade as an unnecessary risk (possibly breaking several dependencies) requiring extensive acceptance testing upfront. Thus, upgrading for the sake of upgrading becomes an unnecessary risk, which only grows more daunting with time as the gap widens between the release a customer is running in production and the release currently available from Rocket. It’s imperative that organizations recognize that avoiding upgrading risk in the short-term only compounds the risk in the long-term, as the time and effort to test changes increases exponentially.
- Time Savings / Scheduling: A customer may not have allocated or anticipated time in their schedule to have their team re-certify their applications running against the new MultiValue Application Platform version. Especially (as noted above) if it has been several years since the last Application Platform certification was conducted. Testing an upgrade requires planning and resources to do the work that could be allocated to other road map items. To combat this, organizations need to build this time into their regular operations and schedules. As an example, manufacturing companies often block out several weeks a year in their schedule for “retooling” to replace outdated machinery and install upgraded equipment to remain competitive in the following year. Application Platform software that underpins your core business requires the same type of disciplined approach.
- Procrastination / Stalling: It could be plausible that MultiValue Application Platform customers and administrators are reluctant to upgrade until they are absolutely forced to by an outside influence. If the customer is already wary of an Application Platform upgrade (for any of the reasons listed above), procrastination is often a natural reaction for someone who is concerned with the potential of something going wrong with an upgrade. In fact, one strategy may be procrastinating until necessity which may allow someone to shift the responsibility (and potential blame) if an upgrade has problems. Some examples of outside influences that may ultimately force an upgrade include:
- Compliance reasons / anticipating an IT audit (a feature that’s necessary to be “in compliance” with the latest standards may only exist in later releases)
- IT upgrades in hardware and/or OS software (upgrading to a 64-bit OS, requires upgrading to an Application Platform that is certified against that OS)
- End-user or customer requires a feature that is only in the latest release (or would only be developed on the latest release)
10. Reduce 3rd Party Compatibly Surprises – Users that stay relatively current with the latest versions are less likely to encounter compatibility issues from the field with 3rd party updates or changes to other products. Rocket takes the time to establish what is compatible and tests the latest versions of 3rd Party code with our releases, documenting what is supported and what is not.
9. Upgrade with Confidence Going Forward – The ease of upgrading is increased the closer the version numbers are to each other. Taking a proactive stance towards upgrading now will allow for simpler and faster updates later, for two reasons. First, the number of changes between version is smaller. Second, we’ve done more testing on the more popular upgrade paths.
8. Proactively Avoid Product Lifecycle Impacts – As any prudent software company must do, Rocket’s older versions of products are periodically graduated through the various life cycle stages. Generally Available (GA) versions slowly transition to “End of Marketing” (EOM), EOM versions transition to “End of Service” (EOS), and EOS versions ultimately transition to “End of Life” (EOL). Don’t be stuck on a release that is likely to become EOS where technical support is no longer equipped to reproduce your problem, or EOL where new or additional licenses are no longer available.
7. Support’s Knowledge and Familiarity – Our global support team is educated and tooled to address the most common, and most recent issues faced by most customers. They are trained on the latest releases and are better equipped to address an issue that is reproducible on the current version, rather than an issue that only occurs on a version that is “EOS” in its life cycle. As time goes on, the availability of “experts” to help you with your old, patched version diminishes. Information and environments are archived to make room for the new.
6. Higher Quality Code Bases – Believe it or not, even though Rocket’s MultiValue Application Platform product lines are mature, they are constantly being refined. Decades of code contributions are being “cleaned up” and refactored to be more efficient and more reliable on the various platform ports. Continuous Integration (CI) is running on the latest versions of the Application Platform code bases to ensure that check-ins are not breaking existing functionality or causing build errors on any platform port. These efforts are forward-looking, allowing for more flexibility to debug complex issues, fix, test, and release incrementally and faster.
5. Help Drive New Feature Development – Customers that have adopted the latest release are often selected to participate in Beta programs and Customer Advisory Boards (CABs) because they are giving us feedback on the latest version including what’s missing. Upgrade now, and ask our support team how you can participate in the next Beta program to gain access to the latest new features as they’re being developed. There is no better way to get your input heard directly by the product team than when they are in the design and development stage of a new feature. You can directly impact the quality of the new feature by validating it within your environment ahead of launch, and ultimately improve time-to-market.
4. Utilize the Best New Features – Taking the best ideas from our customer base and integrating them into seamless solutions all happens with the latest versions of the MultiValue Application Platform products. Enhancements that are designed to give you a competitive advantage when preparing for the future of your business are only available in the latest versions of the products. Generally, new features are not ported to previous releases (only severe bug fixes are ported). If you have waited three or more years to upgrade, chances are that there are many new and exciting features waiting to help you manage, secure, share, scale, and harness the power of your data in new and exciting ways. Let us show you what you can do with the latest releases of our product so you can grow your business confidently.
3. Current OS Platform Certifications – Has your underlying Operating System (OS) software become outdated? Is it still being actively supported by the manufacturer? If yes, do you know when it will expire? Is your MultiValue Application Platform version certified against the OS platform where you are running it? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you are taking a risk of your production system encountering an issue where there is no other solution but to upgrade. The cost of supporting all previous OS versions in addition to all the latest OS versions is insurmountable for many organizations, including Rocket. Keep your OS and Application Platform versions current and in lock-step. Upgrading either should always involve a plan for upgrading both.
2. Avoid Security Vulnerabilities – Stay current with the latest security patches and security best practices that are developed within the Application Platform code. The latest versions of the U2 Application Platforms now allow you to patch your OpenSSL libraries (as available from Rocket) as new updates come out without having to wait for the next upgrade release (security patches are available before software releases). You can also encrypt your data automatically and control access with user or group level security. These are no longer optional features, as the era of data security breaches around the world is only beginning by some estimates. Rocket puts security first, especially in its latest releases, and we are constantly providing security features and updates to protect your critical business data from unauthorized access and malicious attacks.
1. Rocket will never let you fail – Ever! Our company was built on the value of putting our customers and partners first. A win for you, is a win for Rocket… and we want you to be successful! Let our skilled engineers help your business with the amazing work that they have done over the years. Your business deserves the best and that is what we provide. If you are active on maintenance, you are paying for the ability to upgrade to the latest software version whether you use it or not. Rocket MultiValue has an arsenal of tools ready to make your upgrade process as simple and painless as possible:
- Visit the NEW Upgrade Resource page on RBC. Find links to everything you need including the latest Release Schedule updates; A comprehensive “Feature Benefit by Major Release” which summarizes all the major features you get when upgrading across several major releases; Information on how to request Upgrade Assistance from our Lab Services team; And Product Lifecycle Announcements to help plan for future upgrades.
- You can download a Trial edition of the latest MultiValue Application Platform version from www.rocketsoftware.com and get your team started on becoming familiar with the latest releases and features today! There are installation guides, recorded webinars about the features, and a wealth of product information available on the new www.rocketsoftware.com. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, let us know via the ‘Contact Us’ links so we can help.
- Talk to your Rocket Account Executive about your upgrade plans. If it’s still too daunting of a task, consider asking our Lab Services team how we can help your team successfully upgrade.
- If you’ve adopted the latest release and have encountered some issues during your testing and certification process, ask a support representative about requesting a “Fast Track Release.” If you are fully intent on running the latest release in production, we will work with you to solve these issues in a timely release that meets your needs.
- Need more assurance? Our ability to issue hotfixes and patches on the latest release is more efficient than ever. Support and engineering are now able to turn around most MultiValue Application Platform hotfixes in one week. That is from the time of request through the time of delivery. Our commitment to your success in upgrading has never been stronger.
- Talk to us! Let us know your specific problems with upgrading so we can help solve them. We want to know what’s holding you back!
Now that you know the top 10 reasons to upgrade your MultiValue Application Platform to a current version, what are your thoughts on upgrading to the latest MultiValue Application Platform version? Are there other reasons we missed as to why you may or may not want to upgrade? Help us better understand them so we can tackle these challenges together!
Thanks for your time. We look forward to continuing this conversation so that we can help each other provide the best possible Rocket MultiValue experience.