Should you upgrade your business hardware or software? Ask yourself these key questions:
1. Is the hardware across your business fit for purpose?
Ask your staff if they feel handicapped by the hardware and software they are using. If they are, it's a false economy not to upgrade.
2. Are competitors and your general industry using any standards?
Often hardware and software platforms will become standards onto which new services are built. If your systems aren't compatible, this is a commercial opportunity missed.
3. What systems are the largest players in your sector using?
If large businesses are throwing their weight behind a technology, your business may have to upgrade its IT to keep up and remain relevant.
4. What would the overall benefit of an upgrade be to your business?
Mobile payments for instance look set to become massively important. Can your business afford not to support these services by upgrading its IT?
5. Can new technology make your business more efficient and competitive?
Simply buying the latest computers or mobile devices isn't enough. Think about how these upgrades would directly influence your business' bottom line.
6. Would new hardware or software future-proof your business?
Of course tech goes out of date, but can upgrades now ensure your business remains competitive in its marketplace?
7. Could new tech open new business opportunities?
Look at the trends within your market sector. Can your existing tech support these?
8. Does your current tech infrastructure offer robust contingency services?
Many businesses are now reliant on servers and the precious information they contain. Contingency planning needs solid and reliable IT to ensure your business can recover if the worst happens.
9. Is your business using mobile devices across a wide geographical area?
As business is now transacted on the move, the latest tablets and smartphones need to be properly supported. It's useless to your business to try and use the latest Surface tablets with ancient servers and networks.
10. Are your business critical systems still supported?
At some point vendors will stop issuing updates to their applications. Windows XP and Windows 2003 no longer have regular security patches issued, for example. In these circumstances delaying your upgrade could place your business and its customer data at risk.
Fujitsu's Jon Wrennall concluded: "IT is like a car – whichever way you use one (buy it, lease it, company car or use a taxi) it always costs money (in purchase, servicing, fuel, or by the minute/mile). It will never come for free, it needs looking after (by you or someone else).
"It will at some point break down or get vandalised (or hacked). The most effective and efficient ownership model for you will depend on what you need it for, the way you use it and what you actually want (with the head and/or the heart)."
Upgrading your business hardware and software is often a commercial choice that depends on how your enterprise is currently operating. Maintaining efficiency is important – and upgrading your organisation's tech will ensure you are ready to support the latest trends across your market. Plan carefully and assess your needs. You'll then spend your money in the right places and gain the maximum benefits.