The Cost of Outdated Technology for Your Business
It’s easy to get used to a culture of dysfunction, especially when it comes to IT. Over time, it can feel natural that systems are difficult to work with, that servers are constantly going down, and that IT departments are constantly putting out fires.
When one of our most established customers came to us, they had become accustomed to their technical support issues. Something as minor as having to wait multiple minutes for a record to load was contributing to a negative company culture: one of frustration and inefficiency.
But bringing them up-to-date helped lighten the load. Employees were able to get their job done faster and more effectively, and they ultimately found that there were benefits to new technology that ran through the entire company.
New technology is important for a healthy business. Here’s what you need to know.
The True Cost of Outdated Technology
As someone who has been dealing with your company’s IT for some time already, you’re most likely aware of the potential for unexpected downtime and the security risks that outdated technology brings with it. These threats are real, and they shouldn’t be ignored.
However, we’ve found that a lot of the business we speak to don’t always consider the effect that outdated technology has on your employees. Whether it’s your company’s IT department scrambling to keep up with the constant hardware and software issues, or a key team member waiting unnecessary seconds or minutes to load up a record in your database, issues like this are frustrating and hurt employee morale.
The truth is that employees want to be able to do their job, and want to be able to do it efficiently. When you take this away from them, that’s when you start to see the real effects of outdated technology. In some of the most extreme cases, we’ve seen employees break down into tears or even quit their jobs due to the frustration of using outdated, slow and limiting technology. This is where we believe the biggest cost of outdated technology lies.
Why Most Businesses Are Reluctant to Upgrade Their Technology
Even if you haven’t had a technology fused employee breakdown, most business owners still know that their technology has to be updated. Practically speaking though, there are a lot of roadblocks to continually updating a company’s software and hardware. Many companies have upgrades “somewhere on the schedule,” but they falter in actually performing them.
We’ve identified five major reasons that businesses find themselves reluctant to upgrade their technology. Stop us when this starts to sound familiar:
- The prioritization of day-to-day tasks: An internal IT team can only do so much. Oftentimes, finding themselves falling overdue and putting out fires; a major system upgrade just isn’t feasible.
- Fear of upsetting the balance: New solutions often have a transition period wherein employees need to go through training. In addition, small bugs and glitches are discovered and need mitigation. Consequently, an already over-burdened IT team isn’t going to be eager to introduce new issues — even if they’re designed to resolve older problems.
- An inability to locate the right solutions: IT teams need to research new hardware and software to determine the best solutions for their company’s needs, particularly as the business starts to scale. This takes a lot of manpower, and often requires the internal IT staff to devote a lot of time towards their achieving this goal — time that is simply not available.
- Outdated legacy solutions: Some businesses have built their infrastructure around solutions that are no longer supported by the vendor that originally designed them. As a result, they are no longer compatible with other more recently developed technologies. Upgrading from these systems can require a complete system overhaul, something that can be costlier in the long run, and very few companies want to commit to.
- Systems that “still work”: If a system works, there’s little compulsion to fix it. While IT infrastructure isn’t directly revenue-generating, as we’ve already spoken to, its monetary impact is felt at every level of a business.
Fortunately, the solution is far more straightforward than many would have you believe.
Creating a Technology Roadmap: Scheduled, Reliable & Consistent Upgrades
Whenever we take on a new client, one of the first steps we take is to create a technology roadmap. Knowing exactly when and how your future technology upgrades will take place is the most important piece of solving the aforementioned issues BEFORE they become problems.
Your technology roadmap should outline exactly the technology that you have in place today, and your schedule for upgrades and maintenance to ensure that your business is always where it needs to be from an IT perspective.
In recent years, in an effort to find solutions that will sidestep issues such as the upfront cost of upgrades, we’ve been looking to cloud technology as a major part of our technology roadmaps. Cloud technology eliminates many of the concerns businesses have with keeping their technology updated. These solutions eliminate a significant amount of hardware on the company’s side such as no longer needing to maintain servers.
However, that’s not to say that moving to the cloud is right for every business and every situation. Sometimes upgrading on-promise infrastructure is the right move. Sometimes the right move is something different entirely, but the key is always having a roadmap that will show you where you need to go and how you’re going to get there.
Ready to Plan Your Technology Roadmap?
At QuestingHound, we've partnered with Microsoft, HP and Intel to provide the type of technology roadmaps for our customers that will serve them for years to come. Contact us to learn more.
John Boden is a Managing Partner at QuestingHound, Inc., a Deerfield Beach IT support company that has been helping small businesses in South Florida stop focusing on IT and getting back to doing business the past 18 years. He promotes a culture that is dedicated to the highest standard of ethics, hard work, and outstanding customer service. Connect with John on LinkedIn.