Fast M3 Upgrade at New Hope Coal

Feb 19 2013

It’s very common for businesses to make significant system enhancements over and above the functionality that comes with the “out-of-the-box” M3 applications. As a result, system upgrades are often considered a necessary evil, involving complicated re-invention of this non-standard functionality. Because of the additional cost of a lengthier and more difficult upgrade, businesses often delay, which means they miss out on current M3 feature releases. In delaying, it’s also tempting to compound the problem by continuing to make modifications to the core. But there is a strategy that will completely address this.

Keep it Vanilla

However, there is one guaranteed way to make sure that upgrades are much more straight-forward: create a “vanilla” version of your core system which is free of modifications, and add the enhancements using toolsets and methods from outside the system.

As Jason Levick, ComActivity Managing Director comments “The decision to clean up a system is a smart one strategically. For a little bit of extra pain now, the business gets the long term ability to quickly upgrade, and introduce extra features with a much lighter touch on the system – it gives the business agility and responsiveness into the future.”

Queensland’s New Hope Coal discovered this first hand. After running with earlier versions of M3, when it came time to upgrade to Version 7 in 2010, they bit the bullet and kept the new version in its “vanilla” state.  After completing a gap-analysis between the new version and the old system, the required enhancements were added through toolsets and methods, such as jScripting, the Lawson Process Flow tool, and ComActivity portals.

12 Week Upgrade at New Hope Coal

The strategy proved successful –  when it came time to upgrade to version 10, the upgrade took just 12 weeks. As Chris Evans, New Hope’s Information Services Manager remarked, “By taking out the mods, it meant we were upgrading a more stable platform. We fully expect that we will now be able to upgrade more easily, while still keeping existing additional functionality, as well as adding any new functionality that we want”.

ComActivity have worked closely with New Hope to get them to this point, and according to Jason “It’s been very satisfying to help New Hope achieve such a great outcome.” Jason continues, “We are finding that more and more of our customers are seeking ways to keep their systems in their vanilla state, and add functionality from outside. It’s a decision that we think is really smart – it saves money and ultimately gives more flexibility to their business.”

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