Computer hardware these days has about a 3 to 5 year lifecycle. At the end of that lifecycle, the computer is replaced with a brand new shiny one. When you first got that computer, it ran great. Software was installed, updated and upgraded, and new hardware and gizmos and gadgets were brought into the mix. After a few years of that process repeating itself, your computer starts to run noticeably slower – primarily due to the new software and gadgets and gizmos you’re running on it (For the geeks out there, this falls under Moore’s Law).
The same principle holds true for any technology you use on a daily basis. Every couple of years, it’s vitally important to take a fresh look at what you have set up. Is Salesforce configured properly for how you’re conducting business today? Is your website properly optimized for not only how you do business, but how the search engines are working today? Is your business taking advantage of the latest in Social Networking? Are there plans, processes and procedures used on a daily basis that need a new outlook?
Software based technology is often overlooked when it comes to technology refreshes. Some people will often mistakenly file software and hosted solutions under the proverbial “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” category. Sadly, this can lead to lost time, lost productivity, unhappy personnel, extra hours, more frustrations, and in the end, lost revenue.
In almost every company doing business online today, the tools, systems, policies, and procedures they have been working with over the past few years need refreshing. Here’s how to tell if your company needs a technology refresh:
- Have you been using the same software based system for over a year?
- Do you find yourself struggling to get reports done at the end of each quarter?
- Are there more than 3 functions in your system that you are completely unfamiliar with?
- Can you identify at least two “information silos” – where a single person holds all the knowledge on how to perform the particular task?
- Can you pinpoint the decision made to use the particular technology?
- Do you need to change the final results of your technology in order to better make use of it? (File format, ordering, number formatting, fonts, etc)
- Is the process of using your technology so daunting that when you do use it, you rely on a “cheat sheet”?
- Is the technology you use a closed system that has no way of sharing its information with other technology you use on a daily basis?
- Has your business model changed in the last 12 to 18 months?
- Has your company undergone a major shift in other areas? (Personnel, Hardware, Locations, Product, Services?)
If you can answer “yes” to any ONE QUESTION above, your company needs a technology refresh. Choosing to Ignore the signs that your business needs a technology refresh will only ultimately result in lost revenue on some level. If you did have a “yes” answer to any of the preceding ten questions, now is the time to find a technology partner you can trust to give you an honest review of systems, policies, procedures, software, and any other technology your business is currently using. Now is the time to make sure your website is interacting seamlessly with your CRM; that your CRM is interacting seamlessly with your workflow process; that your workflow process is integrating seamlessly with your personnel. Now is the time for your technology refresh.