Why do you need to upgrade the information technology in your business? The answer’s simple: Moore’s Law. It can be interpreted in several ways but the most relevant for this question is that it means the information technology bang you can get for your buck roughly doubles every two years – whether that’s in processing power, storage, or general functionality.
It’s not hard to see the impact of Moore’s Law. It’s all around us and in our faces every day thanks to the incessant advertising devoted to smartphones and tablets. Look at today’s devices, at what they can do, and what they cost, then think back and compare them to those that were the hottest products on the market five years ago.
Given the size of the market and the level of competition, innovation in consumer IT is probably occurring faster than in business IT, but the difference is not that great. The big difference, for many smaller businesses at least, is that innovation in business IT hardware and software is not ‘in your face’ like consumer IT. You might buy some hardware and software for your business and, so long as it keeps running, just forget about it.
That’s not surprising, after all, IT is not your business – you’re focussed on your products, your market, your competitors. But as the technology improves, you could be putting yourself at a bigger competitive disadvantage every day by not upgrading to the latest technology.
However, technology upgrading does not simply mean better, faster, cheaper, more reliable, easier to use, more secure versions of the same – although those are all good enough reasons for an upgrade. A decision to upgrade should also be an opportunity to look at different ways of doing things.
Cloud computing is a classic example. If the latest version of your customer relationship management system, or your accounting software, is proving too much for your ageing hardware, perhaps it’s time to look at putting that function in the cloud, moving to a software-as-a-service version, instead of upgrading to give your hardware more grunt.
If your PABX – your business’ telephone system - is past its use-by date, it may well be time to look at scrapping the whole thing, and taking advantage of that functionality ‘in the cloud’.
No business can afford to be complacent, to ‘fit and forget’ when it comes to information technology. Keeping up with technology is a matter of business continuity and growth, remaining competitive, agile and profitable.
As Lanrex managing director, Jodie Korber, points out: “'Technology in business has distinct advantages, ranging from operational efficiency to marketing and customer satisfaction. But littered among its advantages, when technology is left unattended, unfortunately, it does not always age gracefully - Security risks, severe data loss and/or corruption, decreased functionality, limited flexibility and poor professional engagement are just some adverse effects of outdated IT equipment.”
She adds: “With technology advancing at the rate at which it is today, it only takes one new feature to excel your business, through streamlined and automated systems. Staying on top of your technology can mean the difference between being ahead of or way behind your competition.”
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