Nashville businesses of all kinds and all sizes depend on some form of technology. It’s hard to imagine any other way to work – whether it’s taking orders on a lone laptop in a “mom and pop” store or running complex data analytics programs with a roomful of servers.
It can be easy for a company to purchase any necessary computers, servers, routers, etc., as needed and think the IT needs are good to go for a while. However, nothing lasts forever, and that’s especially true of technology. The average computer lasts 4.6 years, per Statista, and the average server lasts about three years, per Computerworld. Even now you can probably think of a drawer in your house that contains your last three cellphones, all of which were purchased within the past 10 years.
We’re accustomed to upgrading our personal technology, but it’s easy to forget or simply not know when it’s time to upgrade our business technology. Have no fear! We created this list of the top 10 signs to determine if your business is in need of a technology upgrade. So without further ado…
You might need an upgrade if…
1. Your hardware and software aren’t happy together
From time to time, your hardware or software will outpace one another. This might mean that your email client software is too old for the new email server, or you can’t update to the latest browser or app because your operating system (OS) won’t support it. If you have time to get a cup of coffee while Microsoft Word is starting up, or if you find your employee performing a second task while waiting for the computer to churn a calculation, it might be time for an upgrade.
2. Your IT device or service has been deemed “End-of-Life” (EOL)
EOL means that the vendor no longer supports a product, so if it breaks, they won’t provide a fix and will require you to buy something new. Initially this may not sound like a big deal. Indeed, why purchase something new if the old device still works? Because oh the dilemma if it breaks.
How much time, money and clients could be lost if an EOL product fails and you suddenly have to drop what you’re doing to shop, purchase, install and migrate data to a new server or workstation? Being reactionary instead of proactive makes a huge difference to your bottom line. Also, since EOL products no longer have support, they are easy targets for hackers. It’s not worth it to keep End-of-Life stuff around – upgrade now.
3. Your technology works, just not well
We all experience this in our lives. Do you have something broken in your house or car that you’ve just learned to live with? This might be fine for a passenger-side window that no longer rolls down all the way, but if you’re talking about client dollars and client satisfaction, you need to make sure your business technology is firing on all cylinders.
Consider an outdated video card in a computer. It may display the picture, but probably not in the intended resolution or at an appropriate speed. That makes the PowerPoint presentation you spent all night on look drab. Or what about an older wireless router that can’t handle newer, faster speeds? It affects your upload and download times and slows down your work.
But, there are tools to help you know how your IT is doing. Evaluate the health of a workstation using the Windows Experience Index, and determine exactly what particular component is hindering the hardware. Geekbench and NovaBench are similar tools that can evaluate both PCs and Macs. Speed Test is also a great site to grade your internet connection speed to determine if it’s your hardware or internet service provider that’s holding you back.
If you can’t make easy fixes or do some network cleaning to make your technology work more effectively, it’s probably time for an upgrade.
4. Your hardware is beige, plus your monitors are square or thicker than two inches
Image is everything. And we’re not just talking about your screen resolution. If a client comes into your business and sees employees working on outdated technology, they might head down the hall to a competitor that uses more modern technology.
Translation: Computers and monitors should be in black, white or silver casings. And chances are, if the outside of the machine looks old, then it’s probably not doing that much on the inside, and it’s time for some new equipment.
5. Your internet connection still sounds like this
If you can still hum the dial-up internet tone, either 90’s nostalgia holds a special place in your heart or you need to switch your internet provider pronto. At Concept Technology, we can assist you in selecting the best connection for your needs. Plus, we were recently named a Google Fiber Tech Partner, which means we can help you make the most of this new, lightning-fast option in Nashville. Dial tone not included.
6. You need to work outside the office
People no longer stick to the traditional 9-to-5 work schedule. Thanks to laptops, tablets, smartphones, the internet and the cloud, employees are able to meet clients’ demands from anywhere, anytime of day. But that’s only possible if your business has the appropriate hardware, software and policies in place. If employees are expected to be mobile, it might be time to replace desktop computers with laptops. If your employees are accessing the company’s network from home, use a virtual private network (VPN) to ensure everything will remain secure. In addition to any upgrades, it’s important to establish a mobile device management policy, especially if employees are bringing their own devices to work.
7. Your competitors have better technology
If your competitors’ technology allows them to be more productive, more efficient and more innovative, it’s time to level the playing field. The history of American business is littered with companies like Kodak and Blockbuster that failed to keep up with others in their fields, so get rid of that old, irrelevant technology.
The right use of IT can give your company a competitive advantage. In fact, small and mid-sized businesses that led in the adoption of new technology increased annual revenues 15% faster than those that didn’t – plus they created jobs almost twice as fast, according to a study for Microsoft from the Boston Consulting Group.
Technology can help enhance company workflows, provide more effective customer service, keep employees happy because their computers aren’t slow and so much more. Include IT in your overall company strategy and get ahead of your competition.
8. Your business is growing
Businesses need to be able to grow and anticipate future growth. If your network can’t support more employees or if the wireless signal doesn’t reach every area of the office with the same strength, then it’s time to upgrade your network.
In addition to hardware upgrades, look for new platforms that can help power up business. For example, collaboration over email in a 10-person company may work fine. However, collaboration between dozens of employees might be better suited for a different kind of communication tool. Make sure you have hardware and software that handles your current needs and allows for scaling up.
9. You’re falling victim to more hacks, malware and viruses (or worried you will)
Hackers are constantly coming up with new schemes, viruses and malware to disrupt your work and steal your precious data. Even if your current IT safeguards are working, they may not be strong enough. Make sure your virus protection and firewalls are strong enough to keep hackers out. Our Remote Maintenance & Monitoring, antivirus system, malicious email protection, ConceptCloud Mobile Device Management and ConceptCloud Secure Firewall all work to proactively secure your network.
10. You don’t have a backup plan
Disasters happen – is your business prepared? Is all of your data stored on one computer in your office? What happens if there’s a fire, flood, tornado or theft? The “cloud” is a buzzword today, and for good reason: It provides secure, reliable backup for your digital information. But that’s just part of the solution. We recommend following the 3-2-1 Rule to have redundant copies of important data in multiple locations and formats. If you’re not confident that your company can weather a disaster, it’s time to upgrade your backup capabilities.
Do any of these strike a chord with you (to use a Music City term)? Call us today for help with the upgrades you need, and get your company in pitch-perfect shape.