Change Control System

Minor and cosmetic changes are easy to make to the Beacon software, because data entry, queries, reports, forms and searches are parameter driven using data dictionaries.

Minor changes to dictionaries, and to parameters do not require programming, and are considered normal tailoring for a company’s use.

We recommend you restrict these to where they are really necessary, as each change may need to be reconciled if the standard Beacon item changes.

Continuous improvement is Walstan’s philosophy regarding the Beacon for Business product.  Had we chosen the alternative (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it), we may have been broke by now.

Regular Beacon releases include:

  • added functionality
  • new technology
  • improved operation (eg speed, ease of use)
  • bug fixes

It is important Beacon upgrades are taken up by users, so we make it as easy as possible to do so.

The diagram below illustrates the software and operational areas for a Beacon user.

Live is where you run your company, using standard Beacon software, and local changes.

Devel is where you copy in live data to test operational without affecting live data, and to develop and test minor changes before implementing them to local changes, where they are used by Live.  Eg you may wish to change your printed form, but need to be able to use the old form while you perfect your changes.

Demo uses standard Beacon software, with no local changes, and has a standard set of data, updated by Walstan with each Beacon release.  This is used for Beacon courses, and if you need to try operations without any local changes.

When you take a Beacon release, you also get a NewTry account, where you reconcile local changes, copy in your live data, and look at the changes.

Reconciliation of changes may be done by an “power user”, or you may need external help.  This is where you are pleased you have restricted changes to necessity only, so reducing the reconciliation task.

This may require user education and/or operational reviews, depending on the enhancements provided.

Once you are confident with the upgrade, you implement any changes (or remove any which are now included in standard Beacon) to your local changes, and take up the new release in Live