The Leading Edge or the “Bleeding” Edge

by Rusty Keighron, Field Sales Account Executive, Agency Markets, Vertafore on February 2, 2011 · 6 comments

When it comes to being comfortable with technology, folks often split easily into two camps: the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” or “If ain’t broke, Break It!” Sometimes the call to break it comes from those who want to squeeze every new feature and function from new releases and enhancements to technology, fighting those who are comfortable with staying at the current version.

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One of my responsibilities at DocSTAR is to talk to our customers to find out what additional features or functions they need to further their goals for (among other things) ease of use, better communication, productivity, and customer service. I often find that the feature they’re looking for was released a while back but either they have not implemented the feature, did not know it existed, or that they are still on a prior release that does not include that functionality. I understand that there are those that must be dragged, kicking and screaming, to make changes to stable software. I also understand that there are also those who load new releases without proper preparation or understanding the state of the software (ie. it’s in ‘Beta’ or hasn’t been tested with TAM Version 12). These are often those who are being screamed at and kicked!

Here are some suggestions that I have for those of you who want to fall somewhere in between:

  • Realize that there are changes to the Microsoft operating systems that can drive hardware or software changes and releases. Review your server’s specification and software version as part of the process. Check to make that your workstations are compatible as well.
  • Carefully review the documentation each time a software release is available. Ideally, this would be a document that explains what the new version does from the perspective of someone who is on the release just prior to the new release.
  • “We’ve always done it that way” is not a good reason not to adopt new functionality in software. If it has been a while, consider engaging a trainer like Docstar Professional Services to help plan needed enhancements and assist in implementing the plan.
  • Make sure you review your needs in light of changes by your carrier’s requirements and new technologies they are making available to you.
  • Talk to other users who have been through an upgrade to benefit from their experience.
  • Finally, review your backup procedures. See if an automatic overnight backup like Docstar Rebound makes sense for your business.

Our team always looks forward to working with you to make most of your system!

  • Great insights here! It's hard to balance the must have functionality now with upgrades. I have a client who still wants me to train staff in Office 2003. Bleeding edge doesn't work well with most offices. Neither does trailing edge. I like your insights on communication, documentation, and backups.

    • Mary, great comments. The system Rusty is referring to is an insurance agency management system that runs on DOS. I think there are less than a dozen users left in the US. It is so hard for people to change.

  • Rusty Keighron

    Thanks, Mary! I do see more trailing edge folks (I recently spotted a REDSHAW customer, yikes), and appreciate the work that folks like you do to bring folks into the current century!!

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  • Rich Andrews

    Very informative information Rusty. I will pass this along to some of our clients.

  • That’s all good, but you didn’t explain what William Shatner and Dick Van Dyke were doing there, so ultimately I came away from this article somewhat disappointed.

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