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By now you would have received notification from the software vendor about this general release. The release is 8.19 base version, plus you must also:

  • Install the most recent engine update. This will ensure you have the most up to date version of the software.
  • Install the latest Client Interface. This will be installed on the desktop of each user involved in testing.
  • Re-apply the XML templates to make sure you have the most up to date templates.
  • Upgrade HR21 (if applicable).

Read the release notes to identify features that may be of interest to you

As you will be aware from previous upgrades, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the release notes so that you are aware of any new features that may find useful. The release notes also contain information about the upgrade process and the steps you should follow. 

When is the best time to do the upgrade?

There are two trains of thought. Do the upgrade early so that you have plenty of time to get any issues fixed or leave the upgrade until late so that many of the bugs have already been fixed.

Some clients take the latter approach in the hope that the upgrade will be less troublesome if they wait until later in the financial year. Usually there is a late update that must be installed so clients wait for this.

While I can see the benefits of this approach, I tend to think that performing the base upgrade as early as possible is the best approach. This will give you more time to address any problems that you might find. Through my experience with upgrades, I am often surprised that one client’s upgrade is smooth sailing while another’s is troublesome. There can be many reasons for this. Often is comes down to how your system is configured, what customisations you have, or what other systems you have that interface to Chris21.

I have seen clients leave it very late to upgrade and then it becomes more difficult to attend to issues. As everyone works to the same end of financial year deadline, things can get quite panicky as time starts to run out. And on top of an upgrade that is running late, you have end of year processing and the tax update to consider.

For these reasons, I believe it’s best if you can do your upgrade early, test and then you are aware of the issues you face and have plenty of time to schedule what needs to be done to fix them.

Then you only need to install the final update prior to the end of financial year.

What should your testing cover?

You likely already have your testing processes in place. As a minimum, Payroll should always test the critical processes that they use to complete a payrun.

I also test the following system functions:

  • Customisations – to make sure these still function correctly. 
  • Security – if changes are made to the security features in Chris21 and this can affect how people are able to access the system.
  • Database option – if you are using SQL or Oracle to store the Chris21 database it’s important to test this to ensure your interfaces and reports function correctly.
  • Email functionality – system generated emails should be checked after every upgrade.

Installing engine updates and testing

Engine updates are the patches that are released monthly by the vendor. These will usually fix reported issues but can also include new features or changes required by legislation.

Even though these updates are minor in comparison to an upgrade, they still make significant changes to your system and as such need to be fully tested. It’s not uncommon for an engine update to break something that was previously working fine.

I recommend that you re-run all your testing whenever a new engine update is installed.

Unfortunately, you can’t ignore an engine update because you might think it has no relevance to your system. As mentioned, there could be important system wide fixes or legislative changes involved. Plus, you will need to be on the latest version when troubleshooting issues.

Keep an eye out on this blog because I may add more articles of interest to the upgrade. Also, if you haven’t already, connect with me on LinkedIn and join my group the Chris21 Support Network. If there are known issues with the upgrade there could be discussions about them in the group.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions about the upgrade or if you need help getting yours done.