When to Upgrade Your Business’ Technology

by John Burke

2 min read

Small business owners are familiar with their routine expenses, such as payroll, office supplies, insurance, and rent. However, the need to upgrade an information technology, or IT, system can be an unpleasant and expensive surprise. The failure to make a necessary IT upgrade can impair the efficiency of your business, resulting in it being less competitive. Understanding the limits of your system’s capabilities can help you stay alert to the need for a system upgrade.

Signs of Obsolete Technology

The most apparent sign of obsolete technology is slow performance. As your company grows, an expanding number of employees places demands on the server, slowing its response time. The larger staff continually adds to the data input, challenging the system’s ability to run the software applications because of the greater time needed to perform search requests. Another important signal of obsolescence arises when software vendors stop providing updates for the programs in use on your system. Without new updates, these programs might experience vulnerabilities that security software does not protect. As a result, important customer data could be at risk.

Employee Feedback on Software Performance

Your employees are an important source of information about the performance of the IT system. When your staff explains how specific software performance problems restrict their productivity, consider contacting an IT professional to discuss the available alternatives. Your staff members might know whether your system can access new business opportunities in your region. If your company’s technology restricts such access, a system upgrade may be necessary.

Compatibility With Mobile Technology

Your staff members and customers rely heavily on mobile computing. If your company’s IT platform is incompatible with the latest mobile solutions, an upgrade is overdue. If your competitors provide mobile apps for marketing products and services, you do not want an obsolete IT platform to restrict your business from doing the same. Payment processing is an important innovation in mobile connectivity. A wide variety of business software platforms, such as QuickBooks Online offer cloud-based, mobile connectivity for an ever-expanding list of features. For example, QuickBooks Online’s Income Tracker allows you to access all of your business’ income-producing transactions, including unpaid bills, while you are away from the office.

Time to Replace Hardware

Eventually, a system upgrade may not be sufficient. Interim solutions, such as adding additional random access memory or an additional hard drive could improve the system’s speed, although they might not be adequate to run the latest software available. It may be necessary to replace your entire hardware system if it performs inadequately while operating at its maximum capacity for expansion. A cost/benefit analysis could help you determine whether the expense of a new system would be reasonable when compared to potential lost profits from a failure to match the degree of customer service provided by your competitors. Worse yet, a delay in making the necessary transition could result in lost customers, who might refuse to wait for your business to upgrade its system. Increasing your business’ overhead may be unpleasant, but it could be a welcome alternative to lost income.

References & Resources

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