Your organization put a state-of-the-art infrastructure in place—years ago. Some systems get replaced over time, but parts of your network are starting to show their age.
Determining the right time for a technology upgrade requires looking for a few telltale indicators.
1. Maintaining current infrastructure costs too much
The expenses associated with a technology upgrade may seem daunting, but they are often far less than the resources it takes to keep older technology running.
For one, you may have a harder time finding IT professionals who are proficient in the older software and hardware that makes up your infrastructure. Beyond that, business processes may need to be tweaked to accommodate the limitations of that software and hardware. That leads to lower productivity and frustrations for your staff.
While upgrades can inconvenient in the short term, the temporary disruption doesn’t compare to years of inefficiency.
“Large and complex application software tends to become more expensive to operate, support and maintain as it gets older, but few IT organizations have any real idea of the future cost of managing their current applications.” – Susan Moore, Gartner contributor
2. Current systems are underutilized
Staff members will inevitably get frustrated with technology that gets in the way of getting work done. As that happens, they may turn to unauthorized applications to fill the gap. That might mean using their own devices, regardless of authorization. Or that might mean using free solutions that may or may not work well with your network.
Either way, it’s never a good thing when staff uses technology without the knowledge and approval of your organization’s IT department.
Up to 50% of your IT budget may go to these so-called Shadow IT solutions. The primary infrastructure is underutilized in this scenario. You end up wasting resources on systems that no one wants to use rather than turning to a technology upgrade.
3. Falling behind competitors
Some industries have a technology arms race between companies, while others lag behind on bringing in new solutions. No matter which pace your market follows, you need to keep a close eye on the competition.
If your competitors are early adopters of the latest and greatest technology, then you put yourself at a competitive disadvantage by relying on older systems.
Keep an eye on your industry’s news to see the latest developments and partnerships taking place with your competitors. As it becomes common to leverage certain types of technology, work with your own IT support to develop solutions that keep you competitive.
You need agility and the right resources to stay ahead.
4. New business needs
Technology can result in entirely new business models. Just look at the transformation that ridesharing apps had on the taxi industry.
You can’t always predict the direction your company will take in the future. Your technology upgrade may need to accommodate a total pivot of your operations.
If you try to force old systems to support your new needs, you end up with a lot of makeshift solutions that may cause major problems. In some cases, it’s impossible to use your current infrastructure for new business models.
5. Changes in customer requirements
Your customer base has their own set of expectations. What customers want can change based on developments in your industry, advancements, what’s in style, what’s convenient, and more.
Your market may not typically use cutting-edge digital experiences or rely on a mobile-first approach, but if your customers start to want either, you better be ready to deliver.
Technology upgrades that make sense
Keeping up with the latest technological developments may seem like a never-ending race. Training staff on new systems, implementing solutions and phasing out old technology is an extensive process.
Knowing when to upgrade is a strategic advantage. This is how you maintain better productivity, greater agility and strong competitive positioning.