5 signs you’re ready for an IT update

Choosing the right technology for your business is all about striking the right balance. While you don’t want to hastily jump on the bandwagon every time a shiny new gadget comes along, you also don’t want to miss the boat and fall behind your competitors.

Unfortunately, many companies are too cautious for their own good when it comes to updating their IT systems and processes. According to a 2016 survey, U.S. organizations are losing up to $1.8 trillion in wasted productivity every year due to outdated technology. What’s worse is that 37% of employees believe their company is using outdated business tech — which can easily lead to morale issues.

The fact that you’re even wondering if you should upgrade your IT systems is a surefire indicator that it’s time for an IT update. Below, we’ll discuss five signs that prove your company is in need of a technological facelift.

Collaboration issues

In theory, collaboration sounds like the solution to all your company’s problems. Unless it’s done right, however, collaboration can often create just as many issues as it solves.

Efficiently managing tasks and files among all members of a team are two of the greatest challenges for collaboration:

  • Without well-defined rules for sending updates and asking questions, team members might communicate across half a dozen different channels — from email and team hubs to phone calls and instant messages.
  • Keeping track of different file versions and edits can be extremely difficult, especially when using different channels as described above.

In the absence of a dedicated person to serve in the role of project manager, many companies use project management software such as JIRA, Trello and Asana. These applications allow users to assign each other tasks, set deadlines, track progress, and streamline communication. It’s a simple update that can have a huge impact on your business.

Security vulnerabilities

The older your legacy IT systems are, the easier it is for malicious actors to find and exploit flaws in them, exposing your network to data breaches and other cyber attacks.

For example, the WannaCry malware, which took the cybersecurity world by storm in 2017, was able to spread so quickly because it took advantage of weaknesses in older Windows operating systems.

However, the cloud might be the fix to this problem.

In fact, more than 90 percent of U.S. companies already use cloud computing in some fashion. Of those organizations, 64 percent agree that cloud infrastructure is “more secure” than legacy IT systems. This is partly because the cloud pushes out updates automatically — which means you’ll always have access to the latest security patches and bug fixes.

Poor customer service

Whether you’re a mom-and-pop e-commerce site or a massive B2B firm, your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Having employees complain about your aging technology is one thing, but having clients complain about it is a clear sign that things need to change.

If you take your customer service seriously, then it’s time to adopt a software solution for customer relationship management (CRM). CRM applications help you manage your leads, your interactions with customers, and your relationships with clients and vendors.

Eighty-seven percent of companies using CRM software are using cloud-based CRM — enabling employees to access the application from devices like their personal smartphones and tablets. While 65 percent of sales reps who use mobile CRM software can meet their sales quotas, only 22 percent of sales reps who use non-mobile CRM software can say the same.

Failure to deliver

If left to grow unchecked, legacy IT issues can affect your bottom line in more ways than one and lead to negative consequences such as missed deadlines or service downtime. These types of problems can happen for any number of reasons — for example, obsolete hardware or website hosting plans that don’t offer enough wiggle room.

As soon as these internal problems start to turn into external problems, it should be a clear wake-up call — your IT infrastructure as a whole needs to be rethought.

To make matters worse … if you don’t keep your entire system up-to-date, software and hardware compatibility issues can prevent you from installing the solutions you need to take your business to the next level.

Rapid growth

On a more positive note, startups and small businesses experiencing periods of rapid growth also have reason to upgrade their technology stack.

Your original software and servers might have been perfect for your needs when you had three people working out of your garage — but now that you’re at 30 people and growing, your old tech is no longer sufficient.

At regular intervals, you should do a sanity check of your existing applications and systems to make sure they’re still working well for your purposes. Early-stage startups should choose solutions that are scalable and can grow alongside them in the future.

Clearly, technology is important. But where to start … now that’s not so clear. To get you headed in the right direction, check out 4 IT consulting projects that are guaranteed to make your business better.

Why Business Technology Cannot Be a One-Size-Fits All Approach

You’ve personalized your smartphones to your preferences. You’ve taken the time to select the different applications that you wanted, and you’ve likely customized their settings to match your preferences. In other words, your phone is completely your own.

But imagine if you were suddenly handed another person’s phone, and you were told to use it.

You would be baffled. Sure, some things would be the same, such as the basic features and options – but you’d have to sort through the vastly different customizations. Since it’s not your phone, you’re probably going to find yourself frustrated with the lack of options that cater to you.

Of course, that’s thinking in a small-scale scenario. Imagine the same type of scenario, but with a corporation’s business technology. Handing two separate businesses the same set of software and hardware solutions simply is not going to work.

There are plenty of things in this world that are one-size-fits-all. However, business technology is just not one of them. Each company has their own unique requirements for their technology, based on several different factors.

Let’s explore some of them.

Difference in Size

Naturally, the sheer amount of physical machines and number of software licenses will vary greatly depending on the organization’s size. Smaller companies typically require more robust machines that can handle multiple jobs (such as multifunction printers). These hardware solutions cut down on costs and increase efficiency. Larger companies may need hundreds of machines, where cost per unit is not necessarily as much of an issue.

In a similar vein, you must also consider software licensing. Many software applications operate on a per-user basis, which means that they are tiered differently depending on the number of users. This is a major reason why a singular solution for businesses of different sizes will simply not work.

Difference in Compliance Regulations

Different businesses must comply with specialized regulations. For example, companies working within the medical industry must take great care to meet the requirements set by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Certain software is geared towards being compliant with HIPAA, and is therefore highly beneficial to medical businesses.

Such software would probably be useless to someone in an accounting firm. Instead, accountants will likely value a software that ensures consistency between financial statements and adheres to the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

The accounting and healthcare fields are wildly different, so no two software application will fully match their compliance needs. They need individualized business technologies that can keep them compliant in their own respective fields.

Difference in Allocatable Resources

Perhaps the most apparent reason that companies cannot have the same business technology is their available resources. Each business has a set budget that they can allocate to business technology. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all plan would be unfeasible for two companies of different budgets.

Customized Business Technology with RWA

Having the proper business technology in place that meets your company’s needs is critical to your overall success. We’ve gone over three good reasons as to why a one-size-fits-all plan simply won’t work.

But what can you do about your business technology needs?

For starters, you can partner with us. We’ll work to build you a truly custom technology infrastructure that meets your specific needs. Let’s have a chat today to talk about improving your business technology.