Whether you’re using a commercial management system like Policy Works or a product like Microsoft Windows 10, performing regular upgrades is a necessity, especially if you want bug fixes and new features. But before you dive in, here’s five questions you need to ask yourself.
1. Is it a fake?
Phishing scams are increasing in popularity. Phishing is the creation of email messages and websites that are replicas of existing, legitimate sites and businesses. Microsoft’s Safety & Security website suggests you double-check the following before you click any download links:
- Poor spelling and bad grammar in the body of the email. Cybercriminals are not known for their spelling or proof reading skills.
- Hover (don’t click) your mouse over the link to see if the address matches the link that was typed in the message. If it doesn’t, DO NOT click on that link.
- If the tone of the email is foreboding like your software will stop working if you don’t upgrade immediately, it’s most likely a scam.
Trust your gut. If the email appears dodgy, it probably is. If you’re still unsure, phone the authentic sender or visit their website to verify a download is available and you have the correct link.
2. What’s in it?
Most upgrades are accompanied by “What’s New” material that I suggest you read. It allows you to evaluate pros and cons, like:
- Are the new features going to benefit the brokerage?
- Will additional training be needed to use the new features properly?
- Will the upgrade fix a problem you’ve been having with the software?
There’s no harm in delaying for a bit. If a serious problem is discovered after an upgrade is released, it’s usually found and fixed in the first 30 days.
3. Do I need to upgrade hardware too?
This is especially important if your brokerage is using an operating system that is no longer supported like Windows XP. Certain features included in an upgrade may not work properly or fail entirely if minimum system requirements are not met.
4. How much does it cost?
If your brokerage is not computer savvy or you don’t have a designated IT person or IT department, you may need to hire an IT contractor to help you with an upgrade.
Even though Policy Works does not charge for upgrades other software vendors may. Check your contract details or talk to a representative at that company to make sure there’s no surprise invoice afterwards.
5. Do I have a game plan?
Ordinarily, everyone must be logged out of the system while an upgrade is taking place. You’ll also need to backup existing data beforehand. Make sure these events are planned well in advance to avoid a disruption of work at the brokerage. In addition, let everyone know an upgrade is planned and expect to see changes in the performance or look of the software.
If you’re satisfied with your answers to these questions, upgrading your software should go as planned or as Shakespeare would say, “Be great in act, as you have been in thought.”