Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Something New, Something Old

When my local bank changed hands recently and I inherited a new online banking system, I didn’t think too much about it. After a half-hour online, I had learned where to find the current balance on my accounts, how to transfer funds between them, and how to make payments. Things had moved, things looked a bit different, but under the covers, all the same processes were there.

It’s a good thing that people have been using banking systems for a long, long time. Even the old-fashioned ones where you stand in line and wait for the teller to say “Next” before placing your passbook up on a marble counter, work pretty much the same as my new high-tech online banking system.

So what does this have to do with manufacturing software? Well, I got the idea to pull out my experience with my new bank during a conversation last week with Jim, a customer who has been using the MISys Manufacturing System for over 15 years. Jim likes MISys really well. So well that he stopped upgrading his software 6 years ago because “I liked it the way it was” he admits.

But now Jim is in a pickle. His accounting software is so old that, starting this year, technical support for it is no longer available. He’s going to be forced to upgrade his accounting and he realizes it’s high time to upgrade his MISys manufacturing software, too.

Jim’s been a loyal customer for lo these many years, so I agreed to give him a peek at the new version of MISys Manufacturing we’ve been working on for most of last year and plan to release in mid-May. MISys is a lot more complicated than my online banking system, so rather than showing Jim some of the really cool new functionality we’ve built into MISys v5.0, I concentrated on the parts of the program he might be familiar with.

I showed Jim the master files, the physical inventory functions, stock check, most of the stock transfers, and work orders (and just a little bit of what MISys can really do now). At the end of the hour, he exclaimed “Sure, the software looks a lot different, but I can see that, under the covers, you really haven’t changed MISys that much. I think I’ll be able to re-adjust quite readily.”

Truth be told, we have changed MISys a whole lot since the days of MISys/DOS when Jim came on board. I’m grateful that Jim recognized the basic building blocks that form the foundation of the MISys manufacturing software and they’re still firmly in place in MISys v5.0. I’m hoping that other users of legacy versions of MISys will agree with Jim and decide to upgrade with confidence. I can’t wait until they discover some of the really cool stuff they get in the bargain.

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