When it comes to upgrading your operating system on your laptop or PC the majority of organisations are happy to keep the system or application on the version they know and love. Most of us don’t like change as was seen with Microsoft’s removal of the Start Menu in Windows 8.

However, in the case of Content Management System (CMS) applications, there is a far greater risk to the business if it is not upgraded.

Let’s take Sitecore’s CMS as an example where a customer is still using Sitecore version 6.2; here are some of the risks associated with staying with this older version.

Internet Browsers:

Browsers like Firefox, Chrome and IE/Edge are constantly being updated, usually to remove security loopholes or unpopular abilities.  This is great but it does mean your website will also require updating and tested with the latest versions.  Quite often the CMS editor software will stop working with new browser versions or develop intermittent faults.

Sitecore support:

There is a Product Support Lifecycle that people should be aware of, for example, Mainstream Support for Version 6.6 ends December 31, 2015.

Underlying systems:

Sitecore and other CMS’s rely on underlying systems such as the Windows Server itself, SQL Server and the .NET Framework. These will also have support withdrawn from Microsoft;  Windows 2003 server is a good example.

Migrating to newer versions of these underlying systems also means you will have no choice but to move to a newer version of your CMS as your old version may not run on Windows 2012, SQL 2014 etc.

Opportunities that come with upgrading your CMS to the latest version of Sitecore:

  • Faster interface and improved search technology used throughout the editor
  • Greater independence for the marketing team; more marketing features allows for the configuration and publication of personalised rules, content tests and engagement plans without the need for developer support
  • Greater Cloud deployment efficiencies
  • ‘Item Buckets’ (used to store large amounts of unstructured content) allows you to create any number of items in that bucket without being concerned about the underlying structure
  • Keep up to date with online channels ensures faster and better ways of testing website and campaigns across numerous devices
  • Keep up to date with developer tools
  • Bulk actions on multiple items in Sitecore mean there is no longer the need to manually delete items one at a time.

Essentially, the longer an upgrade is left the longer and more painful it will be in the future.  Moving from Sitecore 6.2 to Sitecore 7.2 currently needs many step upgrades – sometimes it’s better to install a new Sitecore instance and simply migrate the config and content.  And, don’t forget third party modules and interfaces may no longer work on older versions.

The decision to upgrade your current CMS to the latest version may prove difficult, especially if it’s stable and running smoothly.  However, there’s no getting away from the fact that moving to newer versions brings greater efficiencies and functional improvements – you’ll have to do it one day!

Author – Nigel King

Website – http://www.unified.co.uk/Blogs/September-2015-(1)/The-Risks-of-not-upgrading-your-CMS.aspx