Is your company using outdated technology? If so, it could be hurting your business more than you realize.
But what’s considered “outdated?” Computers and operating systems are technologies at the top of the list that may impact customer experience. Many IT professionals consider technology outdated if it’s using a five-to ten-year-old operating system. Just imagine trying to remain productive on a 10 year old PC, with no hardware upgrades.
To help gauge when equipment is on its last legs, it’s important to understand the life expectancies of various technologies. Fortunately, there are some general guidelines as to the recommended lifespans of tech.
Take PCs, for example. Three to five years is generally the max before PCs start wearing on a business. After five years, employees begin to lose productivity due to slowing processing speeds and inevitable repairs.
Even so, many businesses are using their PCs much longer, as much as 10 to 15 years or more, trading productivity and long-term returns on investment for short-term cost-savings.
The same rule can generally be applied to other technologies as well. For example, phone systems are very similar to other types of servers and typically have a life expectancy of around 5 to 7 years, depending on the setup.
Okay, so outdated technology can hurt a business’s chances of winning over customers. What if you run a business and the technology you’re using is on the edge of its life expectancy, but you’re just not sure whether it’s time to upgrade?
Well, here are 7 tell-tale signs that your technology is in fact outdated and is likely negatively impacting your business.
Do your computers take forever to boot up or load applications? Does your website take painstakingly long to load? Does using Internet-based software feel like it takes a lifetime? If so, it may be time to upgrade. Slow speeds can be an indication that you either need new hardware, new software (or applications), a faster internet connection, or all three.
When it comes to computers, software and hard drive corruption, lack of RAM and hard disk space, and just plain overloading with too much software can all contribute to slower speeds. Either way, when technology starts lugging around and running slowly, that’s a sign it might be time to upgrade.
Perhaps one of the most obvious signs of outdated technology is the amount it’s costing you to keep it running smoothly. Even if you’re not paying a ton in maintenance and repair bills, it could still be that your older technology is holding you back from cost savings of newer technology. After all, modern technology tends to be more efficient (especially cloud-based technology like cloud phone systems), so if you’re starting to notice that other businesses around you are paying less, it could be time to upgrade.
As technology ages, security vulnerabilities are exposed, which means the older a technology is (or the longer it goes without being updated), the more vulnerable it typically is from a security standpoint. Newer versions of software, for example, often include security patches that have been acknowledged, fixed, and pushed with the latest version. If you never upgrade to the latest version, those security holes don’t get fixed. Over time, security gaps can add up, making your outdated technology more and more vulnerable the longer you hold onto versions of the past.
So if your computer is getting more viruses or you find yourself paying IT resources to fix more security issues, it could be a sign it’s time to upgrade.
Does your phone system, computers, point of sale (POS), or other systems crash on a somewhat regular basis? Do you find yourself having to reboot because things “freeze” or “lock up?” Scientific American offers one explanation for why older computers crash: “Newer OSs are robust against application crashes, but in older systems application bugs can affect the OS and cause a system-wide crash.”
Another potential culprit for crashes and downtime could relate to security issues, which also can point back to outdated technology. Regardless of the exact cause, excess downtime due to consistent crashes or freezes are almost certainly a sign it’s time to start looking into updating your technology.
Inability to Upgrade or Access Support
As technology advances and new applications, software, and hardware becomes available, they are often less compatible with older technology, and it becomes more and more difficult to hang on to outdated equipment. Manufacturers eventually stop offering upgrades and providing support for outdated technology. This is often the case with legacy phone systems. So if your business is using technology that is no longer being supported or updated by the manufacturer, it may be a sign it’s time to move on to something a bit newer.
Another tell-tale sign it’s time for a technology upgrade is the lack or absence of technology in processes that could be optimized with the use of technology. For example, if you still have someone answering initial incoming phone calls just to route them to the appropriate location or extension, it might be time to upgrade your phone system.
Many modern VoIP phone systems come with an auto attendant (or “IVR”) that answers and routes calls quickly and effectively without the need for dedicated personnel. This allows businesses to streamline their communications process and provide a better, more professional experience for callers.
The list of helpful, productivity-enhancing, cost-cutting business technologies is rather long these days, so if you find yourself getting frustrated with antiquated business processes, it might be time to embrace new technology.
Falling Behind Competitors
Last but not least, if you’re starting to lose business to competitors as a result of your outdated technology, it’s definitely time to make the move to upgrade. Russ Madlener, senior director at Microsoft, commented, “More than 90% of people [we surveyed] would consider going elsewhere if they perceived the small business is using old and outdated tech.”
It’s really common sense when you think about it. Outdated technology signals to customers that a business either isn’t willing to invest in improvements or it doesn’t have the ability to do so. Either way, like it or not, outdated technology has the ability to send the wrong message to potential customers, so investing in up-to-date technology can go a long way for you business.
Want to upgrade your business to a professional phone system with all the bells and whistles and still save significant amounts of money in the process?
Take a look at our free guide How UC Improves Businesses to discover what a new, reliable, impressive UC phone system could do for your business.