Anyone who has been in enterprise software long enough will tell you that they dread Friday afternoons because that’s when implementations blow up and premise-based technology is most vulnerable to failure. The time between 1 PM and 4 PM on the last work day of the week is when it’s discovered that:
- training the following week can’t happen because the app is not ready and travel needs to be re-booked;
- the cut-over on the weekend can’t happen because some process failed;
- the upgrade can’t happen for a variety of reasons.
The list could go on…. and on.
Some times these issues can be mitigated and sometimes, remediated. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of enterprise software, they are neverAVOIDED, unless we’re talking about Cloud-based software.
A little more than 5 years ago while working for a manufacturer, I was providing an overview of what was my first implementation of salesforce.com to my new manager (my 3rd person to take the helm of my organization in 15 months). This middle manager had made the circuit from sales to IT to customer service as most people do when their employers have no idea what to do with them.
As I explained that there was an upgrade happening that weekend from one of salesforce.com’s seasonal releases to the next, he asked to see my regression testing plan and the budget to support the upgrade. He also assumed my team and I would be working the weekend during the upgrade. When I told him my plan consisted of logging in Sunday morning to make sure everything was working, he panicked…. no, he lost his marbles.
As someone who had come to the conclusion that he knew infinitely more about my deployment than I did, he fell into the comfort rut he was mentally conditioned to during his tour of duty in IT. IT guys have been trained to accept, even appreciate, the impending disasters brought on by upgrades. It’s a kind of twisted Stockholm Syndrome in which IT bonds with their vendor/captors while the project sponsors sit and wonder how their project could go off the rails so badly.
The beauty of the Cloud is that the people responsible for its implementation are no longer held hostage by their vendors. In the case of companies like salesforce.com, upgrades come like clock-work and problems are the exception. So, as I prepare for Spring ’14, I’ll celebrate the cut-over on Friday afternoon hanging out with my family planning for a nice, relaxing weekend.