I know some of you out there resist upgrades because of many reasons, just a few being: you don’t have time, you’re afraid it will mess up your already-working system, you don’t see a purpose to it. I get it. But I want to put in a few words about the choice to NOT upgrade.
Recently, I had upgraded to Windows 10 which broke my virtual machines that were running old programs such as my company’s accounting software. My accounting software is an old version. I did have the choice to buy new versions, along the way, but decided to save my money because what I had worked fine. So, I let my software get extremely outdated.
I will also admit that I thought the day might come when the software was so outdated that it would no longer run. On that day, I figured I’d be fine if I had copies of my invoices saved to PDF and all my receipts as paper receipts, for example. Of course, building a new system would take time and effort but it would just have to be the alternative to all the savings I felt I’d acquired.
When the time came, though, I didn’t so easily want to give up my system. I went through a lot of work to figure out how to force my system to continue running and, because my system was so old, I had to do that all alone and with no help or support.
This really could happen to, you, too, if you’re not upgrading but let’s back-up a bit:
With these big systems such as LIMS, ELN or LES, if you let them get too outdated, on the day you have problems, you might be looking at doing an entirely new implementation and, unlike me, yours will be more than just reentering some customer information and a handful of outstanding invoices. Even if you stick with the same brand, it might not so easily be possible to convert what you have in the old system to properly work in the new one. Having done some upgrades on these big systems where the jump was across several major versions, I will just tell you that it becomes a huge project and not as trivial and merely applying the upgrade packages.
While I know you’re busy and I know that you risk introducing bugs into your system with an upgrade, if you have been paying your maintenance fee and get your upgrades as part of that, you really should consider making the jump at least every once in a while.
The idea that you don’t need to worry that your system will stop working because you’ll find a way to keep it running requires that you practically forever internally have someone that can do this (usually, someone who intimately knows and remembers the old version). Unlike me and my accounting system, a system MUCH simpler than a LIMS, ELN or LES, where I have someone around who can do that (namely, me), you can’t guarantee this.