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Upgrades: Marvel, Marketing Hype, Necessary Tension or Simply Avoidable

MARKETING
"All I wanna be .... Everything at once" Jingles the new promo for Windows 8.
Vendor makes you feel he is offering the world to you. Even before you realize, the product has occupied your mindshare.
 
The pace of technological advancement and changes is so rampant that everywhere we can see newer, better and upgraded products tempting you to avail the benefit. These may be consumer marketed products like IPod, IPhones, LED or Enterprise software like SAP, Oracle, Windows etc.
Upgrade1.png

REALITY CHECK
What's new for me as user? The reality check is required to evaluate that what is being offered is really useful or it is mere case of need being created by promos.

One may feel that product companies launch a newer version of product even before existing customer is content with premium they paid just because of being associated with prior version.

Not to forget, a product Company releases a new version & issue advisory to remove support for older version and support perishes sooner than you may want to plan for new version.

THOUGHTS FOR PRODUCT COMPANIES
For them the idea is simple, innovate to stay afloat in market.

They use upgrade tool to strengthen the advantage they enjoy over with competition or to bridge their lag in market. It can be a case of market penetration by attracting customer using other products or case of retaining the existing business by providing them the improved option to stay on with a particular brand. In some cases, the upgrade may come in form of altogether different product as classically demonstrated with "SAP Business one".

CORPORATE SCENARIOS
"News of New Release"
Phew.... sleepless nights for CIOs
Should I upgrade or wait?
Do we have Budget or should I realign from existing budgets?
Question like Increased cost for licensing, cost for reskilling the people, hiring consultants to help them, management cost and fact that functionality is not yet proven in the market
Or simply
What's "new" in new version?
Well this is just the beginning....

While the Technical upgrades which involve features like remediation for security threats are considered as approved by default, the ones related to functionality improvement are more tempting.

 

Upgrade2.pngCONSULTING FIRMS
For a consulting firm, the questions are bigger; with no/little prior experience of implementing current version, checking the compatibility of changes with existing landscapes is critical. 

Most clients have modified the standard solution to adapt to their requirements and made it customized. With every upgrade or release the product company provides, the new version of standard program can have direct impact on the customized solution which can go haywire in no time.

For consistent use the consulting firm needs to innovate to ensure that customized solution do not become ineffective just for sake of upgrade in standard functionalities and for that they must have a repository of changed object / processes and use levers like Knowledge management for smoother transition.

CHALLENGES
With so much of technological advancement in today's world, everyone wants a new and latest "happening" version with an intrinsic fear of being treated as obsolete by peers in no time.

AUTHOR'S TAKE
While no one questions the need of innovation and takes that upgrades as part of today's life simply because general perception is we evolve with upgrades but there are set questions for everyone

For Innovators
Rather than focusing on features of innovation, think as what is the value add or improvement in Business process for customers?  Techniques like Reverse Brainstorming can be very effective.

Collaborate with customer, understand their needs and backward integrate in new product version to provide the value add rather than creating the new product and excepting business to adapt.They need to think from perspective of varied stakeholders for their innovation to be widely accepted.

For Users
Companies need to understand the Guiding Tradeoff to set the benchmark for ROI. They need to have a project register to document the expected benefit, risks and cost estimates and then use the 3E to evaluate the effectiveness, efficacy and efficiency of value add in business processes.

Gap analysis is recommended which can set benchmark for improvements derived from upgrade by comparing with changes promised at start, so that they can ask the right questions for the next upgrade which is just AROUND THE CORNER and they themselves take a decision whether it is Marvel or simply avoidable.

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