Success Path
Everything you need to know to upgrade your ThingWorx Platform

Create a Rollout Plan

Compile the plans to upgrade your ThingWorx instances into one project plan.

Determine Unique Instance Activities

Evaluate each of your ThingWorx instances for unique activities within the application and at the potential instances. Each instance handles different types of remote assets like machines, vehicles, or refrigerators/AC. Once the organization determines a particular asset type, further instance activities could differ by:

  • Physical factors: type of enterprise, unit type, number of units, storage, power, location and
  • Environmental Factors: pressure, temperature, water, and dust
  • End-User Usage Factors: wearing gloves, safety gear, or moving around in the enterprise vs. viewing the application from a stationary terminal
     

Instance activities can also differ by the type of work environment and functionalities, such as:

  • Connectivity
  • Gateways
  • Network designs & browsers
  • Availability and data push frequency
  • Type of data coming in and processed
  • Data points & services
  • Application usages and peak hours
  • Number of end-users, stakeholders & clients accessing the applications
  • Devices used to access the app, such as tablets, mobile, laptop/desktop
     

Once you have gained important insights on each instance's uniqueness and differences, you need to note the issues that could arise and their effects like potential downtimes & outages, end-user impacts during upgrades, and finally, the backup plans and how to maneuver around ThingWorx. It would help if you planned out these factors and share them across teams.

If your instances include integration with other enterprise data sources such as IoT, CRM, and MES systems, or any third-party apps, consider how those assets may cause or be affected by downtime. Ensure your organization continues operating efficiently in case of outages, and business is not affected.

You can also gain essential insights on each instance by talking with mid-level and frontline staff who frequently use the app. They understand the current process and problems and can anticipate those well. They can also help you be sensitive to cultural norms at their location around communication, hierarchy, language, and change. For your app to deliver expected value, users need to understand and embrace technology and process changes.

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Create an Upgrade Schedule

With a clear view of the unique activities with each of your ThingWorx instances identified, begin to plan the upgrade activities, order, and schedule. To decide on the best approach, have detailed conversations with those who have a deep understanding of the specific data and systems you need to connect. This might include IT partners, system admins/integrators, stakeholders, and developers. If possible, involve someone with extensive ThingWorx knowledge.

Start with the instances that take the minimal amount of effort to upgrade and work from there. The order in which activities are to be performed might vary for each instance. Focus on an upgrade schedule that will get each of your ThingWorx instances upgraded quickly and efficiently. Determine whether each of your instances need to be upgraded around the same time or can have some relaxation around times between upgrading the instances.

Your schedule should include:

  • Completion dates
  • Phases
  • Milestones
  • Dependencies
  • Resources roles and responsibilities
  • Support management
     

Your Upgrade schedule should be decided and shall account for the below factors:

  • Depending on the availability and experience of your project team
  • Integrations and backup plans especially for external data and custom apps
  • Getting approvals and members point of view
  • Communication plans among the project team and stakeholders to ensure everyone is aligned
  • Prepare yourself for any unplanned costs and activities. Have a well-established training plan, backup plan & change management plan
     

As you build out the timeline, ask your project team for input. Do not forget to include change management tasks such as training and communications for each instance. Inform your adoption team of the changes as early as possible, so the training materials, documentation, and communications will be updated and ready for go-live. While preparing the upgrade schedule, check out project team members' availability in instance upgrades projects and get approvals from respective managers if needed. As part of organizational change management, you'll create a plan to communicate with the new users and the rest of your organization as well.

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Update Application Support Documentation

Update, finalize, and document the application support process.

  • Outline who is the first point of contact
  • How to escalate potential issues
  • How to reach PTC Technical Support
  • Support Strategy
  • Establishing Support Organizations - roles and responsibilities
     

Verify with the support organization, the process is still valid, and everyone agrees to process and is ready to execute. Plan checkpoints throughout the year to ensure the process is working and improve it if necessary.

Ensure your end-users know how to get help with the ThingWorx upgrade, should issues arise. Plan accordingly, and communicate effectively. Internally, specify which teams are responsible for various aspects of the application and how they triage issues.

The support organization needs specific details about how the application has changed to promptly resolve issues, fix bugs, and promptly perform system maintenance. Whether you're using internal employees or an external resource for the upgrades, you must document the delivered solution for ease of knowledge transfer and future reference.

 

The project team will transfer ownership back to your designated support organization. Ensure your support organization receives training on the upgraded solution before the project wraps up. All support teams should also receive basic ThingWorx training to ensure they have a sound understanding of the core ThingWorx Platform.

Document Execution Plan for Each Instance

Apply the upgrade schedule to each of your instances of ThingWorx. Plan how you will approach the upgrade uniquely. The order of the activities might vary for each instance.

Determine and document the order you would like to proceed with events for each instance like first moving remote things/assets, migration of code & data files, Network -proxies and firewalls, security files, moving extensions, and customizations.

Confirm the go-live date with the project manager for each instance and accordingly plan for availability of resources, schedule training, assigning roles and responsibilities with the plan of actions, access to documentation, and communications.

Once the upgrade for each instance is performed, do evaluate licensing or contact your PTC sales representative.

     

Also, ensure a robust feedback mechanism. Plan feedback mechanism for each instance, voice concerns, and share opportunities you may not know or want to know. While it's essential to communicate, it's also imperative to listen. Establish channels for soliciting and responding to feedback across your organization—and ensure stakeholders, end-users know how to get answers.

  • Hosting a regular meeting or open house
  • Dedicated Phone numbers and emails
  • Survey or questionnaire
     

Create a list of the groups who need documentation to upgrade, support, and use the app. For example:

  • Developer
  • System administrator
  • Solution architect
  • Designer/user researcher
  • Application support team
  • Help desk
  • End users
     

Once the plan is finalized with a detailed view of each instance documented, it should be sent for reviews and approvals from all critical stakeholders/members. Once completed, the plan is handed over to the team responsible for executing actions and is shared widely.

Document Implementation and Project Plan for Each Instance

You need to document how and when you will execute the upgrade. No task is too small and should be included. Everything from backups to launch tasks to training and communication plans is vital for the project plan.

This plan should include:  

  • Specific tasks
  • The people responsible for tasks
  • When each task needs to be completed 
  • Order of tasks
  • Availability of resources
  • Communications and approvals
  • Handling urgencies and potential issues
  • Reaching out to Support
  • Training – when and how
  • Identify most affected teams or members
  • Managing ThingWorx applications - System Monitoring and overall health
  • Feedback mechanism
     

PTC recommends scheduling training for various members of your Upgrade project team. Determine training needs based on the roles on your team and your chosen use case(s). If you're unsure which option is right for your organization, contact your PTC sales representative to learn more.

Determine how to manage your ThingWorx applications

PTC recommends that application configuration be consistent across Instances. The configuration should be maintained through a dedicated, central application management team after deployment. This team is responsible for:

  • Assessing and prioritizing any changes requested to the existing applications
  • Creating and maintaining the application roadmap
  • Determining the cadence in which new versions and iterations will be deployed
  • Scheduling new version implementations across each instance, including training for end-users and the application support team
  • Ensuring the application is meeting the needs of the organization
  • Ensuring the system is operating as it should
  • Responding to outages
  • Monitoring the existing system performance and quality
  • Implementing system upgrades
  • Managing overall health
     

As your organization launches additional applications to support multiple use cases, PTC recommends staffing:

  • A subject matter expert for each use case
  • An architect to oversee the entire project environment and ensure the applications are working together

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Manage your Change Management Plan

Use your change management to execute your upgrade rollout plan.

Change management process:

  • Define a compelling vision and clear objectives
  • Ensure strong leadership and significant sponsorship
  • Build and maintain ownership and accountability
  • Align processes, organization, and culture
  • Involve employees
  • Provide adequate enablement and support
  • Ensure stakeholder-specific communication
  • Measure and monitor benefits realization continuously
     

Document your change management plan and share it accordingly. PTC offers change management support services to help your organization navigate change and achieve your goals faster. Contact your PTC sales representative to learn more.

Recommended Resources

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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

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