It's not uncommon for people to believe that upgrading xTuple software is as simple as clicking a button. However, enterprise applications are more complex than your average software program in that they involve a database with multiple related tables, queries, reports, customizations, and changes to the views which can impact everyday users. That said, it's important to take a moment to formulate a plan of attack so as not to create serious business disruption during version upgrades. This section identifies some of the areas you should consider and review in advance of executing the upgrade.
At each release xTuple issues release notes which identify the various changes included in the new version of the application. Take a moment to review the list of new functionality and bug fixes so as to anticipate some of the areas of the software which may be different in the new version.
It's important to give yourself some time to work through the project. Some upgrades may be more involved than others depending on how far behind you are in the release cycle, how many customizations you've added to your system, and how complex your overall xTuple implementation is. When developing a timeline be sure to include the following activities:
- Piloting: Testing the upgrade on a copy of your current production database.
- Training: Updating any training materials and reviewing system changes with applicable end users.
- Cutover: The date you intend to upgrade the production version of the system and users when users can expect to be on the new release.
While developing a timeline you'll want to assure that key stakeholders and users are available to review system changes and the end of each phase. For example, you'll want to ensure finance stakeholders are available to review the user interface and financial reporting during the pilot stage of the upgrade project. They'll need to verify all the information is behaves and is presented in the similar manner to what they're used to relying on. Other resources could include the following:
- IT resource: Install upgrade, trouble shoot database issues, review error messages, modify reports, and handle user questions.
- Finance resource: Review general ledger transactions, financial reporting, and accounting business processes.
- Operations resource: Review product records, inventory transactions, MRP, work orders, and production business processes.
Before you upgrade make sure to review the customizations that have been applied internally to the application. These may require a special attention and testing during the pilot and cutover stages of the upgrade. Create a catalog list which includes:
- Changed Reports: Review the list of stock report definitions which were changed by xTuple by consulting the published list of report changes for each release (e.g., reports_330to340)
- Custom Reports: List all your custom report definitions (grade > 0)
- Scripts: List all your custom, stand-alone scripts, and, if applicable, any associated custom screens
- Packages: List all your custom and customized packages and the screens they impact
Business Process Flows
Review the areas of application currently in use and how the business process are being executed in the application. Create or update all your company training materials, making sure to include your business processes and all the enhancements in your Enhancements Catalog. Business flows may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Accounts Receivable
- Accounts Payable
- Create and configure new products
- Sales Orders
- Manufacturing (MRP, Scheduling, production process)
- Account Management
Take a moment to study the new version of xTuple on a demo database to review new functionality and update your Business Process Flows to incorporate these changes. Create a checklist if necessary of the various process flows listed above to review with end users and stakeholders to ensure you've covered all the various areas of the application.
- Acquire the latest version of the xTuple Updater application.
- Consult the Updater documentation as needed
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