Tips for keeping your business technology up to date

Tips for keeping your business technology up to date

In today's era of data and digitization, technology is needed to run almost any conceivable business to success. But many organizations, especially small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), understandably put off spending on updating their technology, squeezing every last drop out of old computers, servers, systems, and the like.

Little do they know, putting up with obsolete tech actually costs them more than just an increase in maintenance costs to keep old devices running:

  • Security risks – Obsolete hardware and software lack the critical security updates of newer models. This can lead to data breaches, which can cost millions of dollars in damages.
  • Lower productivity – $1.8 billion is lost each year from obsolete technology. Older devices are known to run more slowly and freeze more often, requiring more maintenance. Meanwhile, newer technology has features that help complete tasks faster, such as automation of non-essential tasks, mobility, and cloud-based access to files.
  • Lack of client confidence – Customers nowadays will take their business elsewhere to keep from dealing with outdated technology due to security, privacy, and user-friendly concerns.

Develop a tech strategy

Updating your technology is vital for your business, but jumping from one technology to another is not how to do it. At its worst, updating technology can be impulsive and haphazard. Getting your business technology up to date should be done strategically.

A tech strategy should help a business make cost-effective and profitable technology acquisitions and avoid ineffective solutions. The benefits of a successful tech strategy include cost savings, process improvements, faster time to market, and improved quality and service levels.

It starts with a tech audit. The assessment should look at all office locations, servers, data back systems, firewalls, users, devices, applications, or anything that pertains to the company's IT infrastructure. The audit should pinpoint where technology is working well and where it is underperforming.

First, determine the strengths and shortcomings of your systems vis-a-vis business goals, including business requirements and corresponding tech solutions. An audit should take into account processes of the business. Think about how technology can fix a process, or how you can fix a process without acquiring new technology. For example, Slack is not always a good idea if you don't need constant communication in your team. Also, find the real bottlenecks and fix them. Sometimes technology is the cause of the bottleneck and upgrades will be required, sometimes not.

Next, create a timeline for investment and deployment. This should also track other priorities in the company's overall business plan. Consider also metrics and ways to measure the success of your IT investments.

Lastly, tech strategies are not always about upgrading or acquiring. Consider hardware and software that you will keep. When acquiring new technology, always consider integration. New devices or applications should have a strong ability to integrate and connect to other devices and applications that your business will continue to use.

Seriously consider the cloud as part of your tech strategy

SMBs shouldn't have to worry about technology. Managed services providers (MSPs) have made it their specialty to take technology headaches out of businesses’ hands and make technology work for them to propel business forward.

Hardware-as-a-service (HaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) are two cloud-based services provided by many MSPs that make updating technology easier and cheaper. With these services combined, servers, desktops, notebooks, and software licensing are provided and maintained by an MSP. It requires no large up-front investments; the MSP provides, installs, and maintains the IT infrastructure for a monthly fee. Furthermore, this technology is not considered a capital expense but an operating expense, which means a 100% annual tax write-off.

Aside from requiring no upfront investments, there are also no surprise expenses. All the tech needs to run a business smoothly, including maintenance and upkeep, is part of the fixed monthly cost. It also means improved security, as all critical updates are included in the service level agreement.

HaaS and SaaS also includes 24/7/365 monitoring and maintenance of hardware and software, either remotely or on-site. This allows your company to focus on business expansion, not on technology issues.

Flexibility is also a benefit. Upscaling and downscaling business technology is part of a pay-for-what-you-use contract. Your IT infrastructure can adjust to business changes, without any large cash expense.

An MSP such as Spectrumwise is the logical partner for businesses that need help evaluating technology for their needs or maximizing existing IT investments. It can provide IT infrastructure expertise through IT consulting and technology upgrades through hardware/software acquisition. Working with Spectrumwise also provides worry-free, cost-effective cloud solutions for technology upgrades, such as HaaS and SaaS. Contact Spectrumwise for more information.

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