Vendor Mandated Updates

From time to time system vendors will amend applications.

Although these changes are generally developed to improve a product or service, there are risks involved – including compromising performance or the accuracy of reporting. Sometimes application modifications can create non-compatibility issues with other applications. Changes to system protocol will often require changes to underlying processes and procedures to accommodate new data points or functionality.

Vendors will work very closely with new clients on the initial installation of a system or application, but often leave clients to their own design during the solution lifecycle. System changes, sometimes called enhancements, will occur over time, and these fall into two categories:

Upgrade – replacement of the product with a newer version of the same product generally involving changes to code embedded in the operating system

Update – commonly referred to as a “Release Update” or “Patch”, designed to improve functionality or to fix identified issues.

Either of these modifications creates risk.

Are you prepared for the seamless integration of version upgrades and updates as they occur? Do you have a program to actively review and assess the risk associated with upgrades and updates proactively through review of vendor provided notices or documents against internal configurations? Do you actively pre-test, where possible, and monitor performance post upgrade or update implementation?

On-going system changes and updates can be a challenge. These modifications, which are often presented as solutions to support regulatory requirements, access emerging technologies, meet the demands of changes to the market, or simply to address identified system issues (more commonly known as bugs), can compromise system to system compatibility, require process modification, and/or effect the accuracy of reporting both internal, and to clients and regulators. These changes are often provided as a version update and include some modifications that will directly impact you and others that will not.

Surprises and unanticipated affect of upgrades and updates are not uncommon as any change to an application creates significant exposure not only to processing and reporting, but potentially the various data exchanges that are commonly built into modern processes. In today’s world change is the new constant.

Pohl Consulting and Training Inc. can bring to your organization the discipline and skills required to assess a complex end to end analysis of the impact of an upgrade or update, or to provide the training necessary to allow your staff to self-assess, test, document and monitor system modifications as they occur.