Ministry’s approach to product updates has changed over the years.  Previously, we endeavored to take all upgrades as they became available.  Recently, we have taken a different approach.  Our IT resources are scarce and demand is high.  We have to have a compelling reason to commit resources to any effort.  We now postpone upgrades unless there is a compelling reason such as a new feature with a significant ROI; remediation of a painful problem; or end of support for the current version.

The existing version of any application has hundreds of features that we are not leveraging.  So, stating that newer is better is not sufficient rationale.

This philosophy applies to desktop software (Office, Windows) and enterprise applications (Meditech, GE Centricity, Picis).

What’s your approach?

4 thoughts on “Upgrades

  1. Gartner has previously stated stated “The annual cost to own and manage software is up to 4 times the enitual licence fee”
    That means for the small guy who cant actually afford these solutions, but in the same breathe cant afford not to- is starting to make use of the SAAS model like Google Apps.

    Hosted applications like Apps gives small enterprises a webpage, mailbox, word processor, spreadsheet & communication & collaboration tools for a fraction of that cost.
    Best of all she/he wont have to install or manage it & can access her/his application from anywhere she/he has internet access. I believe thats value in terms of TCO.

    Byron Graham
    SAAS wholesaler

  2. Agree on the desire to avoid upgrades if at all possible. I have tried that and found myself in a pickle later when the vendor indicated that when you finally want to get the nifty new, revolutionary upgrade that you really need, you need to be on a higher version level of the current product. This leads to a risky double or triple upgrade scenario that needs testing at each step of the upgrade ladder.

    C’est la vie!

  3. That is a very interesting topic. But how about the Gartner study, which predicts that, by 2009, healthcare investments in IT will increase by more than 50 percent, which could enable clinicians to reduce the level of preventable deaths by 50 percent by 2013. Of course, nowadays most healthcare organizations have already invested in IT outsourcing, for anything from Telco and Wireless, to Application Data Development (i.e. LIMS, SOA), or even Business Process Management.
    We’ve put together a detailed white paper on these subjects: http://www.outsourcing-factory.com/en/stay-informed/white-papers/outsourcing-healthcare.html . What is your experience with IT outsourcing in healthcare? Are these figures close to your personal experience or do you think there are certain issues we’ve missed covering? I strongly appreciate your professional opinions.

  4. At my organization we’re in the midst of a rather large forklift upgrade to 9 applications in our clinical suite and associated infrastructure. We got behind during our two year implementation of our EMR products across three acute care facilities and now to continue with our roadmap we have to get caught up. This is the burning platform driver for the upgrade.

    Tom hit the nail on the head regarding the mutliple upgrade cost/risk. We have completed one double upgrade and are contemplating another as part of this program.

    In any case, we developed value metrics to the program that focus on patient safety measured by total amount of system downtime and stewardship measured by a reduction in internal resourcesses needed to test and support going live with mutiple applications at once. We’re going to encapsulate the lesson’s learned and structures used to execute so that we can repeat yearly or bi yearly.

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