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Five Steps to a Successful Upgrade

Five Steps to a Successful Upgrade
So you’ve thought through all the reasons why upgrading your legacy analytics is a good idea, from the new features you’ll be able to use, the revenue you’ll generate and the savings and performance you’ll see. Now you’re ready to make the move. But how can you ensure that your upgrade is as seamless and successful as possible?
At Teradata, we’ve helped thousands of customers in various industries upgrade their analytics systems. Over the decades, we’ve honed our approach, anticipating challenges, avoiding downtime and expediting the entire process. Through these experiences, we’ve identified the five key steps required for a smooth upgrade.

Step #1: Assess Your Current Environment.

A thorough assessment of your current environment informs the important decisions you’ll need to make about the upgrade process, such as when and where to involve stakeholders. Having a deep understanding of your infrastructure, the applications you need to update, the order in which to upgrade and compatibility issues will give you a better idea of the project scope. 

Teradata begins upgrade engagements with a comprehensive plan showing dependencies and the effort and actions required by all stakeholders. For example, because upgrading a leading automobile manufacturer’s database systems required first upgrading the company’s versions of Unity, our upgrade plan involved gathering input from both the company’s database and Unity engineering teams at the start. This ensured that their software version would remain stable.

Step #2: Build a Business Case.

Determine your goals and objectives for upgrading and clearly define the benefits you want to gain. For example, if you’re upgrading to increase agility so you’ll have a competitive advantage, you’ll want to outline where modernizing your environment can help your company get ahead. Be honest and provide an objective point of view on the potential impact, both positive and negative, so your team is well equipped to make sound decisions and identify where potential gaps exist in your organization.

For a large shipping company, upgrading to the latest release of our software would enable them to use new analytic functions and leverage improved time series data. They saw these capabilities having a clear impact on business outcomes, including predicting package delivery more accurately and reducing customer churn.
Other companies are also drawn to several new features in the latest release, including new data types and the ability to support a wider range of character sets and time series data. The leading automobile manufacturer also felt that remaining on the previous release caused limitations, especially since their requirement to be on both database and Unity platforms created a dual active environment. Over the long term, they wanted to take advantage of the analytics features in ongoing feature updates, especially considering their aspiration to leverage connected vehicle data to create a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.

Step #3: Assemble the right team. 

Assembling the right team is essential as you’ll want a range of expertise. The key to understanding what you’ll need is knowing the major activities and dependencies that will take place during the upgrade process and then planning to have the right resources available at the right phases of the project. Teradata brings a multi-faceted team to each upgrade, which could include experts from Database Administration, Customer Support, Solutions Engineering, Product Management, and Professional Services at various points in the upgrade. We may also include subject matter experts from our Center of Excellence and Teradata Active System Management, our workload management capability team. 

Step #4: Start with testing developer environments to minimize downtime.

Downtime varies, depending on the size and complexity of your environment, and can range from a few minutes to several hours during the upgrade. Our Teradata account teams work closely with customers to determine the best course of action to minimize business disruption. For example, our Consulting team played a key role in testing the large shipping company’s Unity services, addressing issues and building use cases with new analytic functions in the developer environment.

Step #5: Continue testing after upgrade is complete. 

Testing should take place throughout the process and certainly when the upgrade is complete. Once the upgrade is pushed into production, you’ll want to validate the results of testing and report any issues before you roll out the upgraded version to the entire enterprise. In addition, schedule follow-up meetings with your stakeholders to discuss issues, lessons learned and action plans going forward.
While upgrading can be a daunting prospect, our customers are seeing the many benefits of upgrading legacy systems and taking advantage of all that our latest software has to offer. By following the five steps above, you’ll set your systems and teams up for success and enable your upgrade to positively impact your business. 

Upgrade Your Teradata Software Today

You don’t have to undertake your next upgrade alone. We’d love to partner with you and your teams to make the process as frictionless and effective as possible. Whether you’re a Teradata customer interested in upgrading to Vantage or haven’t worked with us before, please don’t hesitate to contact our sales team today.
Portrait of Imad Birouty

Imad Birouty

Imad Birouty is Director, Technical Product Marketing, for Teradata. He is responsible for marketing Teradata products (database, utilities, and platforms). Imad has twenty-five years of Teradata experience, with specialized expertise in data warehousing, decision support, customer management, analytics, and appliance platforms. He serves as a Teradata spokesperson, interviewed by the technology media, and is active in Teradata events across the world. He is highly conversant on topics in the field of big data analytics and how cutting-edge companies are using Teradata products and services to advance their business performance. He resides in the San Diego area, where Teradata Labs has a facility largely populated with engineers, designers and technicians.

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