Installing software updates, deploying infrastructure upgrades, and purchasing new hardware often end up on the back burner. For the most part, that’s because business owners are usually preoccupied with other urgent business priorities. But refusing to stay up-to-date is tantamount to inviting productivity loss, cyber security risks, and wasted resources into your business. Wait too long, and your outdated critical business applications may break under pressure, putting your business in jeopardy.
To avoid this, we’ve compiled five warning signs that make it clear your company is in dire need of a tech upgrade.
Malfunctioning office tech
When your machines and apps slow down, hang, or crash, they’re due for an upgrade. The average lifespan of office hardware and servers is around 2-3 years. Even after the one-year mark, you should begin to assess whether your current tech framework is capable of supporting increased workloads.
But rather than overhauling entire systems, consulting with a managed services provider (MSP) is a more cost-effective approach. Third-party technicians can evaluate your current systems and pinpoint which parts of your IT infrastructure is creaking under the strain. From there, the MSP can download updates to keep applications up-to-speed, install bandwidth management systems to optimize network speeds, and recommend IT solutions that are well within your budget.
Excel is still your accounting software
Although local spreadsheets are convenient financial management tools for startups, they quickly become unwieldy as soon as your company acquires more clients, partners, and business. For one, manual data entry accuracy suffers as spreadsheet complexity increases. And when working with large amounts of data, reporting and calculating financial information in Excel can be extremely tedious and time-consuming.
Unlike spreadsheets, cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) software makes financial management easier for your accounting staff. These programs automatically record up-to-the-minute transactions straight to your company database, allowing you to save time on data entry and reduce human error. Automated reporting features give you valuable business insight and projections in just a few clicks. And because it’s hosted in the cloud, you’ll be able to manage general ledgers, business expenses, payrolls, and inventory anytime and anywhere.
Too many paper documents
It’s 2017, and if your business is still flooded in paperwork, then it’s time you considered a document management system. Using solutions like PaperSave, you can digitize documents, index them, and retrieve them through a simple search feature.
In addition to processing paper documents, document management systems also automate workflow. This means paper invoices, receipts, and records get sent directly to the appropriate database, whether it’s your ERP system or customer relationship management (CRM) software.
Security is a recurring problem
When it comes to managing infrastructure, software, and data, many businesses often adopt the “set it and forget it” mentality. But given the sophistication and frequency of cyberattacks, this is a dangerous mindset.
Leaving software unpatched might not do much damage now, but it could result in catastrophic data breaches and cyber attacks down the line. For example, businesses that still use Windows XP -- an unsupported operating system -- are vulnerable to various modern-day cyberattacks, allowing hackers to simply bypass weak security measures and wreak havoc within your system.
To protect your business, make sure to proactively update your software and applications whenever possible. The same rule also applies to your current network security systems. Antivirus software, intrusion prevention systems, and firewalls always need to run the latest security patches to better detect and prevent cyberattacks from infiltrating your business.
Your business is behind the curve
Without the right tools, competing in a larger market will be an uphill battle -- no matter how unique your service. Although better technologies don’t necessarily equate to better service, they do make it easier for companies to eliminate operational bottlenecks and boost productivity.
CRM software like Dynamics CRM, for instance, can help your sales staff recall important details about potential leads, setting them apart from old-fashioned sales people who still use an Excel spreadsheet for contact management. In addition, tools like Office 365 allow employees to collaborate on files simultaneously and take work far beyond office walls.
Ultimately, productivity should determine or at least influence a business decision. If productivity is at an all-time low and a large part of that is because of outdated technologies, it’s probably time for an upgrade or installation of new systems. Similarly, if weak cyber security systems are starting to impact business output, a tech update is the solution.
Knowing when to update your technology is crucial for business growth. When you consult with the team at WhiteOwl, we don’t just recommend general upgrades and installations, we provide IT solutions you will actually use. Contact us today to bring your business up to speed in 2017.