October 21, 2016 11:27AM

Don't Fear the Upgrade

Staff Member REdirect Consulting
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From time-to- time, Yardi—like all advanced, ever-evolving software companies—releases relatively minor upgrades and bug fixes to various components of their real estate property and investment management software. And, like all sophisticated software, installing a new plug-in or upgrade can affect your system’s functionality if you are not amply prepared.

For the Yardi users whose platforms exist on a shared cloud (Yardi SaaS, or software-as- a-service), upgrades are required and are implemented at Yardi’s discretion, (though with, of course, ample warning beforehand). Yardi SaaS Select users, on the other hand, whose platform exists on a dedicated, private server, have the flexibility of implementing new upgrades to plug-ins and modules at a specific date and time of their choosing. SaaS Select users also have the option of customizing and test running upgraded plug-ins on a dedicated cloud before implementing it system-wide.

While these upgrades and modified plug-ins are released infrequently—perhaps, on average, once or twice a year—they are vital to your overall functionality. It is important, therefore, to work closely with your trusted technology advisers to minimize any potential disruption to your operations and
ensure seamless upgrades.

Dem Bones

Heeding this warning is important, even if you don’t regularly use the module that is slated for an upgrade. If Yardi notifies you of an impending upgrade release to, say, the Cash Management plug-in, you must still prepare to test your core processes, even if you don’t utilize the plug-in that was updated. This is because—like any sophisticated, database-driven platform—all of the various parts are in some way connected.

Think of it as the old nursery rhyme song, “Dem Bones:” the knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone, etc. In a human body, if something goes wonky with your ankle, chances are it will affect your hip. Likewise, if Yardi has improved the way that the Cash Management plug-in is interpreting data in your system, it may have bearing on the way that your Yardi Payment Processing module functions.

The Best Offense is a Good Defense

As technology consultants, some ways that we help our clients prepare for imminent upgrades is to extensively research and work closely with our friends at Yardi to identify any known issues and discern which, if any, may affect our client and in what way. If a client has created extensively customized menus, for instance, we will run a comparison between the default menu of the plug-in’s previous version to see how the new default may impinge on the customization.

Another important area we look at is in the area of permissions. As discussed previously, understanding and manipulating the permissions toolkit can be tricky; it is important to understand how —and if— a new plug-in may affect these customized permissions. In short, it is critical to understand, as comprehensively as possible, the upgrade about to take place and how it will affect the unique way that your company utilizes the software. And then, once armed with these insights, the universal mantra of all software implementations comes into play: test, test, and test again.

Don’t fear. Reap.

Remember: upgrades are a good thing. As long as you take note of the notifications from Yardi that an upgrade is on the horizon, take appropriate steps to prepare for them—and rely on those best positioned to help you do so—you should be able to sidestep any potential problem and reap the
benefits of the improvements quickly.