The Cost of Outdated Technology for Your Business
At Frontier Solutions, we work with many SMBs, legal firms, and accounting firms who are struggling under the weight of their old technology. The higher intensity an industry is, the less likely a business is to maintain its technology solutions. Unfortunately, this also causes problems for the business: without the right technology, it’s easy for your company to fall behind the competition.
Accounting firms and legal firms are among the most likely to feel the strain of older technology. Both accounting and law are now highly technical fields, with technology doing a significant portion of the heavy lifting. Companies that aren’t able to properly requisition and leverage technology will need to lean on their human capital instead, which leads to burned out, frustrated employees, and lengthier projects.
But that doesn’t have to be true.
The True Cost of Outdated Technology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IT for some time already, you’re most likely aware of the potential for unexpected downtime and the security risks that outdated technology brings with it.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However, we’ve found that a lot of the business we speak to don’t always consider the effect that outdated technology has on your employees.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 When you take this away from them, that’s when you start to see the real effects of outdated technology.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most extreme cases, we’ve seen employees break down into tears or even quit their jobs due to the frustration of using outdated, slow and limiting technology. This is where we believe the biggest cost of outdated technology lies.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?
Could your business do with a technology upgrade? Let's talk. Contact Frontier Solutions today for a consultation.
Chantale Benoit is the CEO of Frontier Solutions, a Calgary IT support company that has been helping small businesses get the most from IT in a way that allows it to drive their business forward for the past 23 years. Learn more about Chantale and Frontier Solutions here.
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