If you’ve worked with legal software at all, you probably know that many of the applications out there were likely started by the stereotypical “two guys in a garage”. Years go by, and their technology gets bought and sold by bigger and bigger companies. Twenty years later, and the technology is owned by the largest software companies in the world. But keep in mind that a lot of the database schemas and core code functionality are just plain old. The GUI may improve (then again, maybe not), but the wizard behind the curtain is still old and probably just as buggy as any program I could write with my buddy in my garage.
Sometimes the flashy new features and modules that plug into the old code can cause issues. Maybe they are stretching what the product can do. Who knows? Too many times have I seen new releases and service packs get caught in a seemingly long and drawn-out Beta test or QA testing. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad vendors are trying to fully test their software before a general release, but I’ve seen many estimated release dates come and go. Updates get released, then pulled back into QA. Eventually, things usually work out.
My advice to clients is usually the following:
- Wait it out a bit. Especially when that major new version or service pack gets released, don’t rush to implement unless absolutely necessary. Give it a few weeks to see if they release a “new patch” to fix issues with the old patch.
- If you have a development or test environment, try the new release there first and really bang away at it. If you have the time, perform some tests over a period of a couple weeks to check ongoing stability.
- Keep an eye on any vendor support forums or social groups on LinkedIn for any feedback from the guinea pigs.
These simple steps could save you a few migraines.