Regularly upgrading your CMS means better efficiency now and less hassle in the future

Software upgrades play a key role in maintaining any collections management system (CMS). By regularly upgrading their collections management software, museums and collecting institutions can utilize the latest tools to manage, preserve, and share the valuable collections under their stewardship.

Legacy or outdated collections management systems may feel comfortable and familiar to use. However, failing to upgrade can cause mounting issues over time. The result? Potential costly disruptions that impact an institution’s budget, workflow, and security.

Following a consistent upgrade schedule can mean better efficiency now—and less cost and hassle in the future—for your institution and its collections team, who depend on the CMS to facilitate every facet of their daily workflows.

What is a software upgrade?

A software upgrade is the latest version of a software. It typically supersedes the previous version(s) by providing significant changes through new features, enhanced functionality, and the latest in security and bug fixes. Upgrades are released to improve software performance and the overall user experience.

When software upgrades are referenced in this article, we are referring to a version upgrade you would make to your collections management solutions (ex. TMS Collections or EmbARK.)

Software upgrades ≠ software updates
Software updates, otherwise known as software patches, are different from software upgrades. An update enhances the current version of a software through minor additions, rather than fully upgrading to a new version.

Why are software upgrades important?

Regularly upgrading your collections management software offers significant benefits to your institution—both now and in the future. Let’s discuss what you can gain.

Upgraded software ✅Out-of-date or legacy software ❎
⚙️ Latest features and functionality
🔐 Latest security protection
🪲 Latest bug fixes
💫 Receives the latest updates
💰 Saves money and hassle
⚙️ Outdated features and functionality
🔐 Outdated security protection
🪲 Bugs that are resolved in later versions
💫 May no longer be updated or supported
💰 Becomes more costly and difficult to upgrade as time passes

Access new features and functionality

By upgrading your collections management software, your team gains access to the latest features and functionality. As museum workflows continue to modernize, these new additions can be indispensable in keeping pace with your expanding operations.

At Gallery Systems, our expert team is always working to improve your collections care experience. Each version of our software is designed to enhance the user abilities through new additions, supporting object documentation, loan shipments, exhibition planning, and much more. In fact, each upgrade includes new, top-rated features suggested by our user community.

Gallery Systems clients can view recent TMS and EmbARK upgrades in the Community portal.

Having up-to-date software can also simplify collaboration with other institutions using TMS or EmbARK. Simplify data sharing and working on joint initiatives to better bring your vision together.

Looking to expand your TMS Suite?
The TMS Suite is an interwoven platform of Gallery Systems solutions that support your collections needs within one ecosystem. Align workflows and departments with software for conservation documentation (TMS Conservation Studio), online collections (eMuseum), or digital asset management (TMS Media Studio). Implementing these products may require upgrading an out-of-date TMS or TMS Collections platform to guarantee compatibility—another reason to prioritize your upgrades!

Get up-to-date security protection

As a museum or collecting institution, your collections management system acts as the heart of your operations, making its continued protection of paramount importance.

Older software is less equipped to ward off modern security threats. Upgrading helps ensure your data is protected by the latest security measures and reduces system vulnerability to harmful breaches.

Have the latest in bug fixes

Software bugs can affect a collections management system’s function, performance, and usability. While bug fixes are routinely offered through software updates, upgrading to the newest version is an extra measure to ensure you’ve received the latest patches.

Receive uninterrupted updates and support

Software versions don’t have infinite lifespans. As a version ages, a software provider will eventually stop providing updates and support options may decrease over time.

By regularly upgrading your software, you are ensuring that continuous updates and support remain available. These safeguard measures are vital if you encounter an issue with your software, allowing it to be more quickly and effectively solved by your provider.

Save money and hassle in the long-term

Software upgrades are efficient if regularly implemented. However, upgrading a legacy or outdated system to the latest version becomes increasingly costly and challenging with each skipped upgrade.

Upgrading in the future remains possible, but the potential strain on institutional budgets, time, and IT resources becomes more pronounced. Scheduling and budgeting for regular upgrades is the best option for saving both long-term cost and hassle.

Also, there is the issue of user continuity. If a CMS user is accustomed to a 10-year-old system, suddenly being presented with the latest version will cause a steep learning curve as they adjust to the new interface, features, and UX design. It’s far easier for users to acclimatize to incremental changes from regular upgrades, rather than navigating a more significant leap forward.

Upgrade your CMS skills
Nervous about adapting to a new software version? Ease the transition with collections management training. Gallery Systems offers immersive online training options for TMS, TMS Collections, and EmbARK users. Learn, ask questions, and get familiarized with your CMS and its abilities in a supportive, group environment.

How to manage software upgrades

Overseeing the financing, scheduling, and completion of software upgrades depends on whether your collections management software is self-hosted or provider-hosted. We’ll explain the considerations for both.

Self-hosted collections management software

For self-hosted software, meaning the CMS is hosted on internal servers, software upgrades are the institution’s responsibility and managed by their IT team. The institution must allocate the necessary time, resources, and budget to support each software upgrade.

Self-hosted institutions have free access to upgrades through the Community portal. Gallery Systems can be contracted to oversee and complete the upgrading process.

With Q1 coming up fast, it’s an ideal time to add software upgrades to your 2023 budget. Assigning the funds now will make upgrading more achievable to complete—rather than trying to squeeze upgrades into the budget later or putting off upgrades for another year.

Increase your museum budget
Looking to boost your operating budget? Gallery Systems releases Grants Guides every year to help global institutions meet their collections goals, including CMS upgrades. Stay tuned for the 2023 editions, launching in early January.

If you are a Gallery Systems client, we can work with you to determine a realistic budget and timeline for upgrading your collections management software. To learn more, reach out to your Account Manager or contact us through the Community portal.

Provider-hosted collections management software

If your software provider hosts your collections management system through managed hosting services, they are likely responsible for regularly upgrading your software.

When Gallery Systems hosts your CMS and its data, we upgrade your software to the newest, most secure version for you. These upgrades are scheduled at your convenience to avoid outages and disruptions to internal workflows.

Software upgrades are included in the cost of managed hosting, so you are never faced with unexpected expenses. For many institutions, managed hosting is a cost-effective solution that makes regular upgrades attainable.

Upgrade with Gallery Systems

Thinking of upgrading your collections management software? Gallery Systems can help. We’re happy to discuss your institution’s specific needs and create an upgrade plan that works for you.

Gallery Systems clients can submit a case in the Community portal for a timely response. Our support team will also assist if you’re unsure which software version(s) your institution currently uses.

If you’re new to Gallery Systems and our industry-leading CMS solutions, reach out to learn more. We look forward to connecting.