A few people had noticed that there was a new picture on my blog but that it was not a picture of me. This is one of those situations where I accepted an upgrade, it had unintended consequences (the picture of someone else popping-up on my blog) and I decided not to roll it back – that there are more good features than problems and, also, that I didn’t currently plan to devoting time to kicking that person off my blog, being busy with other things. And, in that, it’s the same issue we face with LIMS, ELN and LES upgrades.
Upgrades Can be Time-Consuming
It’s a significant amount of work to do a run-through and ensure your system still works the way it did before the upgrade. Even with testing, no software vendor can guarantee they’ll find every problem in an upgraded system. In addition, if you have your own programming and features added, the software vendor usually isn’t responsible for checking those for bugs, unless they wrote them and you have an understanding that the vendor will check them.
Thus, we come down to the issue that everyone is busy. No-one has the time to add something extra to their schedule. And, with that, it’s not surprising that some companies, especially those that run lean on their personnel, sometimes hang back on their upgrade path.
Of course, we all know that one problem is that if you get too far behind and can no longer do a single upgrade where you go from the version you’re running to the most current version then you’re in for at least an order of magnitude of extra work to get it accomplished.
The other main issue is when the software vendor no longer supports the version you’re running because it’s so old. As long as you don’t run into a bug in it that you can’t live with, you’re fine. But you can never tell, either.
Eventually, you probably either need to upgrade or to do an entirely new project. That project might be with the same software but, if you’re jumping many versions, you should treat it as a new project. The data might not entirely migrate and there are different features.
In my case of WordPress, I lived with the picture of a stranger on my blog for some period of time. Eventually, even though I’ve been busy, I went out and found a different WordPress theme. It’s not a theme that I’m 100% satisfied with but I’m trying to do as little programming as possible. There are several changes I want and, soon, I will continue to look for themes that better fit my needs or, if it’s easier, will add a little programming.
For me, what’s nice is that I always have that option. As a programmer, I know how to balance the struggle to look for the right piece of software versus the programming it takes to make something that only hits the 80% mark better fit my needs. For those of you buying a LIMS, it’s not always that easy. There are many more features you’re looking at, many more packages with more options, and you don’t always have a programmer available to give you the right kind of advice on that, either.
Keep in-mind that, even with my knowledge and limited choices, it’s still not that straightforward. Buying a new LIMS, ELN or LES is so much more complicated and that’s why the selection process and the upgrade choices aren’t that straightforward.