All business technology has a shelf-life, whether it’s that an app that receives weekly upgrades or that dusty server that’s been underpinning your IT infrastructure for years.
For businesses of all sizes it’s vital to consider not only when to upgrade, but how to do so, if they are to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.
- Is it necessary?
It may sound obvious, but the first thing that organisations must consider is whether now is the right time to upgrade. On the one hand, businesses don’t want to get caught up in an IT hype cycle and upgrade just for the sake of it, but on the other, they can’t afford to let legacy systems hamper business growth.
Businesses must evaluate whether their current hardware and software solutions are meeting their organisational needs and whether an upgrade would make them more competitive. They should also research whether further upgrades are expected in the coming months to ensure they do not end up with new IT technology that quickly becomes obsolete.
Financials should always be an important business consideration and technology upgrades are no exception. However, businesses shouldn’t simply look at the immediate cost of purchasing new IT hardware and software. A thorough cost-benefit analyses needs to be undertaken to truly understand what advantages will be gained by upgrading.
Organisations should have a clear idea of their upgrade budget, as well as an understanding of how much their legacy systems are costing them in terms of inefficiencies. Plus, organisations must consider ongoing costs for their upgraded software, which could come in the form of subscription price plans or after-sales support. In addition, businesses should remember to shop around to ensure they get the most competitive price on their upgrades
Another important consideration that businesses should make before upgrading is whether their employees are ready for new IT solutions. After all, they will be using the hardware or software on a daily basis and so it is often useful to canvass their opinions before committing to an upgrade.
If you do ultimately decide to overhaul your IT solutions, it is then time to evaluate whether employee training will be needed to help them get to grips with the upgraded technology. A staggered upgrade may be useful to give employees more time to transition to new ways of working.
When you upgrade a particular aspect of your business technology it is likely that other software and hardware features will remain as they are, which is when integration issues can arise. Making sure upgraded solutions integrate with legacy IT is crucial, as any issues can bring workplace productivity to a standstill.
A pilot upgrade can help organisations determine whether any integration issues are likely to arise before committing to a widespread rollout and it is also worth checking to see if help is available from your technology vendor.
The best IT suppliers will offer consultancy alongside the sale, as well as post-sale support, to help prevent and mitigate any potential problems surrounding the upgrade process.
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