5 signs that you need a technology refresh

Sticking with older technologies can inhibit your business from achieving its broader objectives. Outdated or unsupported technologies are more vulnerable to cyberattacks, and they stifle productivity and business process efficiency. How do you know if it’s time for a technology refresh? There are five clear indicators.

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Deciding when to upgrade business technology is never easy. You have to consider which pricing and deployment model is right for your business and how disruptive a new solution might be to employees. But you also must balance those concerns against the risk of opportunities lost because of older equipment and applications that are more vulnerable to cyberattacks and can inhibit productivity because of degraded performance or growing inefficiency.

Outdated technology may even cost you your most valuable resource: People. Employees have come to expect workplace technologies that are easy to access from anywhere. A study by Unisys found that employees who work at organizations with legacy (read: outdated) technology are 75% more likely to be frustrated than their counterparts who work for companies that embrace new technology. The outcome? Legacy tech workers are 136% more likely to feel less productive and are 450% more likely to quit.

So, how do you know if it’s time for a technology refresh? For core operating environments and productivity tools, there are five clear indicators:

  1. Are your employees and contract workers leaning on you for better remote access? Even before the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses around the globe to mandate remote work, the workforce was already trending toward mobility and remote access. The regular work-at-home population has grown 173% since 2005, and about 40% of the U.S. workforce works remotely with some frequency, according to Global Workplace Analytics. This trend significantly impacts technology investments, as remote workers expect the same level of secure access to people and information as on-site workers.
  2. Are your older applications still getting regular upgrades and support from the vendor? For example, Microsoft is winding down support for Windows 7 and Office 2010, two cornerstones of small and midmarket businesses. Support for Windows 7 ended in January 2020, to be followed by Office 2010 in October 2020. End of support cycles can introduce new headaches into your business.
  3. Are you concerned about the rise in cyberattacks such as phishing and ransomware? Or about protecting your business data on employees’ personal smartphones and other devices? You should be. Small businesses were the victims in 43% of the more than 2,000 confirmed data breaches in Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report. Unsupported software is one avenue cybercriminals exploit because it may not have the latest security patches.
  4. Are your employees complaining about outdated or hard-to-use applications or computing devices? The smartphone and app generation has changed individuals’ expectations about usability and easy access to high-quality software and hardware. Employees want the same frictionless experience at work that they already have with their own smartphones and tablets.
  5. Are you concerned about the increase in data privacy regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)? As more businesses transform to digital operations, complying with privacy laws is table stakes for maintaining trusted relationships with customers and partners.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s likely time to modernize. Microsoft 365 has evolved with the changing workplace and is now much more than a suite of office applications. Microsoft 365 brings its best-in-class productivity apps including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint together with powerful collaboration services such as Microsoft Teams as well as device management and advanced security to transform the way you work. Think of it as the productivity cloud for your business.

Download the Modernizing with Microsoft 365 Playbook

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.