Have you ever been bothered by old, outdated technology?

Perhaps there was a time when a co-worker had a newer, faster computer, and while you waited for your old machine to start up, they were already working on a project.

Or you find yourself sitting and waiting for your computer to catch up as you change programs or click from screen to screen.  It’s not only unproductive time, it’s frustrating!

Now imagine that your entire business is running off of outdated technology and your competition isn’t.

For many small to medium sized businesses, the above example can sometimes be a reality. Companies may not even be aware that certain technology is outdated which could lead to some pitfalls.

  • Productivity Loss – just as the typewriter revolutionized productivity decades ago, modern technology is constantly increasing productivity. And with technology changing so quickly it’s easier to fall behind the competition in a short amount of time. In other words, technology that seemed cutting edge a decade ago may now be as obsolete as the typewriter. This concept can be applied to all of your office technology.
  • Security Risks – perhaps one of the largest pitfalls of not keeping up with technology is that it exposes a company to security risks. A good example of this is Windows ending their support for Windows Server 2003. Those who do not update their software, networks, and systems when necessary may be leaving their security and functionality of their data to chance.
  • Data Loss – another area that can be affected by outdated technology is systems integration.  When one application is outdated, and the other is updated, they don’t communicate properly with one another. This can lead to potential data loss as well as potential revenue loss.
  • Customer Confidence – one of the biggest drawbacks to utilizing outdated office technology is that it can have an effect on how your customers perceive your business. If materials look out of date, or your business cannot use technology to communicate to a tech savvy consumer, they will notice this. This leaves a wide gap for the competition to come in and create an unflattering comparison.
  • Shrinking the Talent Pool – attracting the right talent can be a pain-staking and competitive endeavor. Being behind on technology can make any value offer look less attractive to a prospective employee. People are often trained on certain technologies that are standard in the industry and will have to retrain on outdated and inefficient technology, yielding less desirable results.

One of the first steps in deciding if it’s time to update, is to assess your current technology situation. Survey all your current technology including computers, software, printers, communication devices, fax machines and so on that are used in the office. Ask questions such as: How long ago was this purchased?  What task(s) does this perform? What task(s) do we want it to perform? Is it still being used? What other options are available? What does the competition use? These questions will help you get a sense of your current technology status

None of this is to say that a company should spend money on newer but unnecessary technology. If a newer technology only marginally improves efficiency and the costs do not justify such an expenditure, it’s a good idea to hold off. Sometimes it may be a bad idea to update to the newest technology simply because it’s new. Every year, thousands of new products come on the market, but very few make it into mainstream office culture. It’s prudent to see what takes hold and always balance your needs with budgetary concerns.

Your technology provider should be able to help you when deciding if it’s time to update to newer technology, or hold off until the right technology comes along.