It’s a question all organizations have to deal with: with new technology available, increasing support costs (or no support available), changing end-user demands, and problems adapting to today’s mobile world… when is it time to retire your aging technology?
We’re often amazed by the outdated technology that some organizations are relying on to run their business. Technology such as FoxPro, Access, Windows NT, LAN Manager, Windows XP, and more are still in use, simply because organizations choose to take the “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. Although it may be tempting to wait until hardware breaks or a piece of software becomes obsolete to think about how you’ll replace it, this approach often leads to unscheduled downtime and can seriously jeopardize your organization’s productivity.
Technology continues to move forward at a remarkable pace, so that most of the hardware and software on the market today will become useless in five years. This means there WILL come a point at which your existing technology just can’t accommodate your needs. Organizations need to ask themselves if their existing technology (this can include hardware, software, networks, systems, and more) can scale up to accommodate their planned growth or if it will eventually constrict their growth? Although there are no strict rules when it comes to replacing technology, in general, we tend to see replacements happen in the following timetables:
Desktop systems and servers: Every 3-4 years
Laptops, phones and other mobile devices: Every 2-3 years
Printers and networking equipment: 5+ years
Software and operating systems: Varies widely
The real question however, is, how is your productivity? Are your people productive and working at the rate they should be or is your technology slowing them down? We believe you should invest in the technology to keep your most expensive resources busy.
Remember, your organization is unique and so your technology decisions should also complement your unique growth strategy. When it comes to answering the question of replace and/or upgrading your technology, consider the following:
Support of existing technology. As applications age, they become increasingly expensive to support. Eventually, vendors will suspend support at some point in time.
Lack of internal knowledge. As a platform ages and employees leave your organization, internal knowledge can become increasingly scarce as software ages.
What is the REAL cost of your old technology? Your IT team may be spending much more time supporting a five-year-old server, and users often waste time waiting for software to load and function properly on their older computers.
Is your current technology delaying upgrades? At some point in time, some computer applications will not easily allow an upgrade.
Nobody knows the technology anymore? If you have a custom application in place that was developed a long time ago, you may not be able to find the programmers to work with the older technology when you need support.
Old software doesn’t talk to your new software? Obsolete company software often has strict coding features that can limit communication with newer technologies and programs.
Old technology may no longer be patched or updated by the manufacturer. This represents a very serious security risk for your organization; furthermore, if you have guidelines to follow such as PCI or HIPAA, they just won’t allow it.
Are you susceptible to cyber security threats? If your current firewall is not current generation, you are putting your organization at really at risk and don’t protect against attacks.
There are many factors to consider, but the most important question may be: Are you losing customers and revenue to your competitors because you aren’t embracing newer technology? In the end, new technology is focused on better/faster communication… which leads to better/faster decisions. If possible, make a technology review part of your annual strategic planning conversation. It can have a major impact on your budget and your organization’s overall success.
If you’d like a complimentary technology review or know you need to upgrade but don’t have the foundation to manage it, give us a call at 401-825-4401 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today!