We all know that the pace of change in technology is faster than ever before.
The way we communicate, work and play are continually being transformed, and in the process, changing our expectations of what we do, when we do it, and how. At the same time, businesses need to make sensible business decisions for the long term, and cannot afford to continually chase the latest tech trend or innovation fad.
Getting this balance right is key to positioning your business as both competitive and enduring.
Here are five key signs that you are in need of a software upgrade;
(1) Your customers find it hard to do business with you
Think about how you feel when things are ‘easy’, whether it be going to a restaurant, or booking an appointment. If it’s easy, you are more likely to make a purchase and come back again in the future. Conversely, there is nothing worse than feeling frustrated by the process of buying new products, services or experiences. Customers can quickly form a negative image of you and your brand, if you don’t make it easy for them to engage. What’s more, if you are getting this feedback directly from your customer, it’s definitely time to step back and think about how to address any bottlenecks in your business processes and overall customer experience.
(2) Your business goals cannot be achieved with your current software
Increasing revenue, while keeping costs under control are two fundamental pillars of a successful business plan. Technology at its core is a productivity tool; it allows you to do more with less. When considering your plans for the future, do you find you are limited by what you can achieve with your current software? A lack of flexibility, poor user experience and rigid functionality are all tell tale signs that this is the case. Contrast this with the agility that a software upgrade would provide, both in the way you create, sell and manage products, and how you go about running your business’s day-to day operations.
(3) Your competitors are making major changes to suit customer demands
First proposed in 1962 by professor Everett Rogers, the ‘Diffusion of Innovations Theory’ seeks to explain the spread of new technology by dividing adopters into five categories; Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority & Laggards. Consider where you are on this curve and what risks and rewards are involved. First mover advantages come to those who move first, but often there is a risk the technology will not mature or bring about the benefits one expects. Being too late reduces this risk, but at the expense of providing a competitive advantage to those who have moved earlier. If a fundamental shift is clearly underway, consider whether you are at risk of being left behind by sticking with your current software.
(4) It’s been a few years since your last update
How frequently do you update your mobile phone or laptop? The answer is different from person to person, and from business to business in the case of their technology stack. If it’s been a couple of years since your last major update, it’s probably time to think about whether you’re ready for an upgrade. In assessing whether you are due for one, consider the pace at which your existing provider has improved the functionality and user experience of their product. Have they released new features? Have they listened to your feedback and made improvements? The rate of change is a critical indicator of whether you should look at updating your businesses software. Lots of little changes, make a big difference over time!
(5) You are spending too much time and money on maintaining your current system
Vintage cars and vintage software don’t have much in common. Maintaining outdated systems is a costly exercise and has little productivity benefits. It’s also difficult to find the expertise to support hardware and other integrations that are far beyond their shelf life. Your customers and employees will also resent having to use technology that reminds them of a time gone by. Weigh up the true cost and ROI of investing in a software upgrade, with this front of mind.