Upgrading technology for your business can be an intimidating process. Integrating that new technology is a different ball of wax. Outdated hardware and software can slow your productivity, compromise your security and even cost you revenue but without the right guidance you may end up throwing money out the window on technology that doesn’t match your needs.
Upgrading your technology means matching your spend with the needs of your employees. To promote their best efforts, you need to provide them with the right tools, storage, access and training. Working with an IT provider gives you an experienced assessment of how to best achieve this and save money in the long run. Let’s look at the factors you should weigh when making your next technology improvement.
How Often Should Your Business Update Its Technology?
Most experts suggest a three-to-five-year cycle, but you’ll need to weigh that against how well your current system works and the cost of upgrades. When your hardware no longer qualifies for manufacturer support or fails to meet the requirements for your software updates, it’s time to swap it out.
At a bare minimum you’ll want to upgrade to the latest operating system for compatibility and security reasons. An advantage of new hardware is that it normally comes with the latest software installed. This can save you time and expense in the long run.
Not sure if your business needs an upgrade yet? Consult with an IT professional who can evaluate your current system against potential upgrades. An outside audit can identify productivity and efficiency issues you may be overlooking.
9 Technology Upgrade Best Practices
When it’s time to upgrade, there are certain considerations and steps most pros agree on. Here are things you should keep in mind in order to upgrade and integrate new technology into your workplace safely and effectively:
1. Consider Your End Users and Business Goals
Who will be using this new technology? Understand the pain points of your employees and match them with the right solution. Technology will hopefully boost productivity but it doesn’t make sense to upgrade if you’re not providing the right set of tools for the job.
Similarly, align your technology spend with your business goals. New technology can accelerate your ability to grow when used properly.
2. Have a Clear Technology Strategy Mapped Out
Don’t implement any type of upgrade until you have a clear plan in place. Understand what you want to upgrade and why. Make sure that all the necessary departments have approved the plan and that you have room in your budget. Once everyone is on board, create a timeline for the rollouts. Also, scale your technology to grow along with your business.
3. Start with a Backup
Any time you upgrade or change hardware and software, be sure that you have backup measures firmly in place. Chances are, you will encounter unforeseen difficulties, data loss or security issues. Avoid these disruptions by having a set backup point that you can restore to.
4. Perform Upgrades in Phases
An integrative approach allows you see your new and old technology operate side by side. Using a sandbox model, you can see the difference in real time and gauge the value of the change. Progressive rollouts are also easier on your overall system and your employees. Once you’ve made the upgrade, stay current with any updates associated with it.
5. Take a Three-Step Migration Approach
As you implement new hardware and software take a three step approach:
- Test the upgrade to make sure it works the way you want.
- Train your employees on how to use it
- Roll out the live version.
By taking an intentional approach to your integrations, you ensure that they work, that your employees are able to use them and that they don’t disrupt other parts of your system.
6. Upgrade Your Security
Any technology upgrade should be proactively paired with upgrades in security controls. Don’t leave your shiny new system vulnerable to hackers and malware. Include clear security upgrades at every phase of your plan and remain diligent with future security updates.
7. Migrate to Cloud Technology
If you haven’t already, consider cloud storage as a secure storage solution that scales with your business. Clouds provide easy access for your employees without the risk of hardware failure. If you deal in documents, digitize them and place them in a safe, searchable document management system.
8. Use Existing SAAS
Developing your own platforms takes time and money. Today there’s a SAAS solution for nearly every business need. Larger applications like Microsoft Teams can integrate with your existing system for greater utilization. An IT consultant can suggest the right software for you.
9. Use an IT Expert
There’s no substitute for experience and knowledge. An IT consultant who helps businesses like yours with their technology spend can identify problems and solutions. A good IT person will listen to your business goals and recommend the right technology to help you achieve them. They will also implement systems around your employees and facilitate training, so everyone understands their new toolbox.
Start Your Technology Upgrade Plan
Technology is forever changing. You need an expert IT group that will stay on top of the trends and advise you on how to leverage those changes for your business best. With Thriveon, you don’t just get a consultant that will run the day-to-day, you get an experienced Fractional Chief Information Officer who strategizes alongside you and your leadership team to put the needs of your business first. Schedule with us today and start planning your future technology integration.