From business development and client relations to product launches and sales, there’s a lot for a small-to-medium-sized business to manage on a daily basis. With all of these responsibilities, it’s easy for technology to be left by the wayside. If it’s not broken, it’s not going to be made a priority. But left unchecked for long enough, your aging technology can end up costing you in ways you hadn’t thought of. Below are our six signs it’s time to upgrade your technology, and set your business up for success.
When we talk about downtime, many of us conjure thoughts of black screens, smoking CPUs, or your business’s server crashing. But more often than not, downtime is what drags on while we wait for our systems to catch up. Maybe we grab a coffee while we wait for a file to save, or see what’s new on Instagram while our computer takes a lengthy time to reboot. Taking a break here and there is important, but slow systems can accumulate a lot of wasted time. If you notice a good chunk of your day is spent waiting for your computer to catch up to you, it’s time to upgrade.
2. Routine Firefighting
Every great IT team can rattle off the various ways to fix or implement workarounds to get people back on track. Sometimes it’s looking back to old processes, or it’s an extremely long SOP to make your software behave correctly (again). Firefighting like this shouldn’t be part of our normal day to day – it’s all downtime. An old machine might require a 15-step workaround for an issue a new machine might not even run into. And when we have our staff focus on fixing hardware or bringing machines in for repair on a regular basis, it’s all time we could better spend working, billing, and growing the business. If you find yourself on the phone with IT support far too often to fix the same issue, it is definitely time to upgrade your technology.
3. “Ugh, just do it the old way.”
Tried-and-true methods are hard to beat. We trust them and believe they ensure that work is completed effectively across the team as a whole. Even if it takes an exorbitant amount of time for an older practice, many prefer to stick with what we know instead of trying something new, even if it could save time. Eventually though, we begin to realize just how much time and energy is being wasted using the old method, and we realize we have an issue. Next time you see staff regressing to workflows that should have been sunsetted years ago, it may be time to check the age of their computer and see if new or updated software can solve their problems.
4. The Sands of Time
More or less, the second we purchase a new machine we are already seeing a ticking clock before our software needs outpace what it can do. Be it operating system updates, or our speciality software (looking at you Adobe), there will come a day where we get that pop-up saying that our workstations are no longer supported, or can’t support a new feature. For those of us who work with specialty equipment and peripherals, every new adapter that comes out pushes us further and further into obsolescence. Sure, we may not need the latest USB-C compatible external hard drive now, but there will come a day soon. By keeping an eye on upcoming features and measuring your current device specs against the recommended specs for software you use most often, you can plan for upgrading your computer at the right time, rather than being surprised and frustrated upon release of the newest software version.
5. Inability to Integrate New Technology
Behold the worst words to say on a client call: “Unfortunately, our systems can’t support that.” Not only is it embarrassing to admit that you cannot work with a specific software or system, but that limitation can lead to lost opportunities or projects. Doubly embarrassing is when the reason is aging machines or lack of investment in core systems. Don’t lose out on projects or stifle your staff by sticking with infrastructure that is just “good enough.
6. Release Jealousy
It’s ok, we all fall victim to the siren song that is new product announcements. Couple that with unboxing videos or boasts about how your productivity will skyrocket if only you were to buy this new gadget, and even the most stalwart among us will start thinking about the upgrade. Even we at TSP were enamored with the new Apple M1 chips announced this year at first glance. With any new release, it’s important to ask yourself, “Why is this so exciting to me?” If it’s because the new technology looks to fix an issue you’re having (slow speed, new features), a technology upgrade should definitely be considered. But don’t just jump at the newest release just because it’s shiny and has a catchy song showing it off.
Remember to consider that any new technology comes with bugs that need patching, and updates to fix promised features that don’t work exactly right. With the new Apple M1 computers: while they boasted incredible speeds, they initially didn’t support multiple monitors and lacked virtual machine support. Remember, it’s never a bad time to consult with an IT service provider to see whether it’s time to bring in an MSP to help you with your decisions.
Consider our free tech audit – outsourcing your IT management could be the best upgrade decision you make to ensure your team has the tools and technology it needs to stay successful.
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