Businesses can't afford to fall behind with technology if they want to keep their customers. Unfortunately, it can be time-consuming and expensive for small and medium-sized companies to keep up to date with software and technology. In this article, we’ll outline how to keep your software from becoming outdated.
1. Minimize Technology Dependence
The best solution is sometimes the least obvious. The fewer programs you have, the less time you need to spend on upgrading them. Of course, downsizing to having only the technology you actually need can also reduce your expenses quite dramatically.
There is software for everything: accounting, scheduling, HR, CRM, and more. Maybe you don’t need all of them. For example, you can use one software, like SharePoint, for many different purposes and consequently minimize the number of different applications used.
Before you start uninstalling software, you might propose a trial run without a particular program you’ve been using. If it’s too painful, too time-consuming, or too expensive to do the work without it, you’ll find out within a few days or weeks. If nobody misses the technology, then you’re free to discard it and spend the money for upgrades on something more useful.
2. Software as a Service
Some software,SharePoint for example, is now available as an online service instead of a software download. Your information is stored securely in the cloud, and your company members can have access to it from anywhere in the world. One of the biggest advantages of using cloud-based software is that you never have to worry about upgrading. Additionally, you can streamline your expenses by paying a small monthly fee instead of investing huge sums of money upfront.
Some processes are better accomplished by other companies. Whether you outsource your payroll to avoid investing in payroll software or outsource your customer service to avoid paying for a phone network, there’s a good chance you could pay someone else to keep up with current technology for you.
You could also hire an IT profesional to manage your software and technology. When it comes to custom-built solutions, however, most organizations find it more efficient to work with a company that specializes in the type of development or other services needed.
4. Listen to Your Customers
It’s not always obvious to the CEO when their company's technology could use an upgrade. The first people to point it out to you might be your customers. If your customers complain that they have to call or email you because you haven’t invested in a chat program, then you might want to take it into consideration. When it comes to being current with technology, customers will compare you to other companies they do business with.
5. Put It All Together
If you want to ensure that you’re always up to date on every program you have, it would be wise to be on the software company's email list. They’ll be happy to let you know when it’s time to upgrade. But if you can’t afford to purchase a new upgrade every time the opportunity arises, then you might want to consider consolidating technologies, switching to software as a service, customizing the program for your needs, or altogether outsourcing the activity associated with the technology.
Do you have any other suggestions or questions for preventing outdated software? Let us know in the comments!