How to Perform a System Analysis Before Implementing a Duck Creek Upgrade
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How to Perform a System Analysis Before Implementing a Duck Creek Upgrade

Giving your business the infrastructure it needs to thrive sometimes means upgrading the infrastructure you already have in place. With Duck Creek, that means upgrading the platform component – taking your current, client-specific configuration and merging it with the latest release of Duck Creek Platform code.

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When an upgrade is implemented and completed correctly, it will result in access to Duck Creek’s newly-released functionality, up-to-date systems with the IT solutions you need (especially with Windows, SQL, and web browsers), and bug fixes of ones that may have crept up in previous versions.

Before you jump into the upgrade process, we suggest taking the time to do some system analysis and determine the right approach for you. Keep in mind that doing an upgrade should be seamless and have little disruption to your current development lifecycle.

Performing an Environment Analysis Assesses the Current Structure

To perform an upgrade on the Duck Creek Platform, it’s integral to understand the current structure already in place. This means asking the following questions:

  • What needs to be upgraded – specifically, which environments and which components of Duck Creek (policy, billing, claims)?
  • What is the current configuration of those environments? This will help determine the number of upgrade installations that will ultimately be run.
  • Are the hardware and software configurations for the environment compatible with the latest release of Duck Creek? This can include Windows, Microsoft SQL, and relevant web browsers.
  • How does the current setup compare to the base install of that same version? This allows the project team to fully understand what changes have been made by the client.
  • What has changed within your business that may require additional work to your current configuration?
  • What is in the new release of Duck Creek that you want to incorporate into your current configuration?
  • What are the key areas of improvement you desire for your existing system?

Moving Forward with the Upgrade

When those determinations have been made, the upgrade can move forward. There are three main points that should be weighed once the upgrade process begins:

1. Modifying the Database

A major component in the upgrade is understanding the database structure already in place. Are there extensions to the OOB tables? Are there new triggers in place? New tables in the database? New stored procedures? These questions help drive the level of change that has been implemented.

When performing an automatic upgrade, these custom elements get lost in the shuffle. Conduct some in-depth analysis on the database changes because these items must be manually addressed to prevent rolling back during installation.

A system backup is always a good idea so you can create a baseline to ensure that if there are any problems during the upgrade, an alternative system is ready to be put into place.

2. Integrations with a Custom DLL

Many clients will require the creation of custom DLLs to communicate with external systems. While this is common, the time spent creating these DLLs should be factored into the upgrade schedule. Typical upgrades require no more than a recompile of the existing code. However, a full-scale regression process should be implemented to ensure that there is no additional rework needed.

3. Skins Modifications

The Duck Creek Skins make up the “feel” of the user interface or the overall “look” of the product. This area, historically, has been the most problematic from an upgrade perspective. This can sometimes be difficult to upgrade and even take up a substantial portion of the time involved. It often means looking at how previous modifications were made, and then updating those modifications for the new version.

If it is found that the current skins have deviated substantially from the out-of-the-box skins, a re-implementation of skins on the new version may be the best option. There are also features that the client may have built out in a custom manner that are now part of the newly released skins code, or better yet, now something that can easily be handled in the configuration layer.

Making the Platform Upgrade Process as Simple as Possible

When these important elements have been addressed, there are a few questions that may remain.

  • Does the new release produce new functionality that you’d like enabled in the new version?
  • What is your overall goal for the upgrade? IT update, new product roll-out, bug fixing, etc.
  • What changes need to happen to your existing product definition? Either by way of new functionality released by Duck Creek, or changes to your business focus?
  • What is your timeline?

The sooner these answers are in place, the better. It will result in a smoother transition between environments and help ensure that the new platform version creates an actionable, quality system with minimal issues moving forward. Although the process of upgrading the Duck Creek Platform can seem overwhelming, addressing each of these issues will optimize client use for the next version, reducing or even eliminating future risks of downtime.

 

For more than a decade, NIIT Technologies has built a panel of experts who understand the nuances of the Duck Creek software suite and provide industry-leading counsel and support for configuration and upgrade. When business requirements change, NIIT Tech can help you determine that right upgrade approach as well as offer extended solutions, such as omni-channel.

Learn how NIIT Tech offers a wide variety of tools that businesses can use to improve existing systems, from increasing QA efficiency to performance monitoring. In addition, NIIT Tech has a full kit of regression and other testing tools that can make upgrades easier on development and testing teams.

Learn how NIIT Tech offers a wide variety of tools that businesses can use to improve existing systems, from increasing QA efficiency to performance monitoring. In addition, NIIT Tech has a full kit of regression and other testing tools that can make upgrades easier on development and testing teams.

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