NTT DATA Business Solutions
Martijn van Giessel | June 20, 2020

Software Upgrade - How to Avoid the 3 Biggest Stumbling Blocks

(2 min read)

Software upgrades of critical systems: Organizations prefer not to do it. Quite understandable, because these are processes in which a lot can go wrong. Here are the 3 major stumbling blocks that can ruin such an upgrade project. Martijn van Giessel, Business Consultant at NTT DATA Business Solutions, explains which ones they are. And more importantly: How to avoid them.


It is often a doomsday scenario for organizations. The software supplier of a business-critical system brings a new, improved version to the market. That means saying goodbye to that familiar working environment in which years of customization is hidden. And that is – to put it mildly – not easy. Just the choice to go for a greenfield migration or ‘simply’ upgrade the old software is already a brainteaser. Upgrades, in particular, prove to be a major challenge. But no matter how you turn it around: You have to do it. Not only because the software vendor stops supporting the old version, for example, but also to innovate and stay ahead of the competition. And when you have made the choice for migration, then it only begins! To make an upgrade process a success, you have to take these 3 stumbling blocks into account:


1. The Software Upgrade Takes Too Long

Software upgrades can range from a few months to several years. An important reason is often that organizations have not properly mapped out their current system in advance – and especially the amount of customization available. If you gradually find out that certain elements of your system do not work in the new environment, you have to solve this. And that takes a lot of time. You avoid this by performing detailed checks on your system beforehand. So you know exactly which parts of your environment can be upgraded one-on-one and which parts need more attention.


2. The Upgrade Project Gets Too Expensive

The longer a project takes, the more money it costs. Everyone understands that. You prevent an upgrade from eating up your money by keeping a finger on the pulse and keeping an eye on the scope of the project. Keep in mind that specialist knowledge is expensive. So you have to make sure that you limit the use of that knowledge to what is really needed, namely the upgrade. And not for all kinds of repair work, because you had no insight into the amount of customization in your old system.


3. The Result of the Software Upgrade Does Not Suffice

When you have to repair non-functioning parts in your new system and the money starts to run out in the meantime, the danger of beating is lurking. This can cause you to economize on testing your new environment. In the end, you’re stuck with a system that only works half-way. And to make it work, you need more time and money.


Avoid These Stumbling Blocks

How do you prevent yourself from actually going down over such a stumbling block in a software upgrade?

  • Tight project management
  • Pre-checks of all your custom work
  • Targeted use of specialist knowledge
  • Careful testing


These measures ensure that an update to a new system, such as SAP S/4HANA, runs without many hurdles. NTT DATA Business Solutions’ SAP Qualified Conversion Factory helps organizations achieve this. Specialist partners abroad have already carried out the update to SAP S/4HANA many times, which means that they approach the process as a factory-based process. They carry out the customized checks, provide the actual update and extensively test the new system. Meanwhile, NTT DATA Business Solutions keeps an eye on the scope of the project and ensures clear communication between customers and partners. This ensures that the lead time, quality and costs of your update are always easily manageable.


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