When it comes to technology advancement and upgrades, the small business community is unique. On the one hand, there is little desire to adopt the “latest and greatest”, especially when things are stable and working well. On the other hand, not taking advantage of innovative technology that could boost productivity, save money or increase security may prove a blow to the competitive edge a business enjoys.
There’s a balance to technology upgrade timing. Upgrade too early and the result is often an expensive project to sunset a system that is still useful. Upgrade too late and business is negatively affected because of outdated infrastructure or equipment. While there are no fixed rules on timing technology upgrades, there are signals.
The next challenge is knowing which advancement or upgrade is worth the friction commonly introduced and which is just a passing fad. There’s no special insight that can make an upgrade decision an easy one or perfectly timed, but there is a process that helps guide a business toward smart technology decision making.
No matter the industry or sector, every business relies on technology, which is constantly improving and developing. Upgrades and advancement are in the future, welcomed or not. Understanding how to best navigate these changes within the unique constraints of a business is a tremendous asset.
Listed here is our recipe for keeping up with technology advancements and upgrades and the signals to watch for.
Adopt A Long-Term Plan
Developing a comprehensive plan that outlines business goals will drive the technology needs to help carry out those goals. An understanding of long-term business needs will help prioritize upgrades and advancements to support them. For example, knowing a move to Microsoft 365 is a strategic goal for the company, allows technology teams to start laying the groundwork and setting up a foundation.
Allocate An IT Budget
Without an IT budget, a business is always reacting to technology needs, which is never a good posture. Allocating a technology budget ensures the necessary upgrades are accounted for and won’t be missed because of future budget challenges. For example, if a relied upon software package is set to end support for a particular version, an upgrade to the support version is in the best interest of the business to remain safe. Build IT into the business budget and clearly distribute funds for the mandates of the current budget year.
One thing every small business can’t ignore is cybersecurity. If there is any doubt surrounding the adequacy of safeguards in place, an upgrade is in the future. Cybersecurity must remain a top priority of every business without compromise. Keeping pace with cybercriminals requires regular patching, updates and training. Cybersecurity has a direct impact on the bottom line. It’s crucial to keep technologies updated.
Examine Technology Consistency
When it comes to technology, consistency is an advantage. It reduces support needs and makes upgrades easier. Any business that uses different solutions for the same problem is risking a problem. If inconsistency is prevalent, it’s time to consider an upgrade to bring about a consistent environment that is easily supported, kept secure and efficient.
Furthermore, certain departments might use different tools for communication. All of this can create confusion and inconsistency, which can end up causing technology problems. Therefore, it’s important to keep a constant check on whether your technology – including the software and the hardware are compatible and similar across the sections.
Talk with your MSP regularly to understand the latest trends. Roark Tech Services stays abreast of industry news and follows technology developments to stay informed about the latest advancements and upgrades.
Look For the Signals
If your business is questioning the right time to upgrade and which direction to move in, contact us to understand how we can help your business maximize technology and productivity in a safe and managed approach.
Roark Tech Services is an expert in fit-for-purpose technology solutions exclusively for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses.
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If you don’t have an IT Partner that you can trust to give you the right support and advice, we’d love to help. Contact us.