Convincing the financial decision makers (i.e. Owners, CFO, etc.) of either Small or Medium Businesses from your organization to invest in upgrading your outdated network infrastructure into a cutting-edge technology can be challenging. If your company is running a few outdated hardware and software items, it is time to make a decision to improve and secure your current network setup. The beginning of the entire process can be costly, frustrating and wearing, but it will all play well at the end with a favorable outcome. Planning a strategic and operational concept will be a good start. Reviewing your current IT approach, and recommending new technology opportunities are also important. Educating employees on the latest technology is significant for businesses for their success.

Why upgrade?
Modern equipment and latest software
Try not to wait too long on making upgrades; you will be missing out on a lot of hardware and software upgrades that may be financially beneficial to you. Some get decommissioned and replaced with better features that enable you to get the most of them. It can be a financial burden for your company initially, but less nuisance at the end of the day.

Obsolete products may cut off technical support, updates and features, therefore outdated hardware and software that will require support will be in jeopardy and there might be a possible downtime in case of a hardware or software issue/failure that will cost some loss for your business. It is important that your computers are running 24/7 with a limited downtime.

Modern network infrastructure
Review your current network infrastructure to see if it has assurance to protect critical information and systems. Learn about best practices for eliminating application downtime and data loss with the newer technology applied in your organization. Outdated hardware will slow down your work, whilst modern technology will give more stability.

Time-sensitive projects

Converting old file formats (using a 3rd party utility converter) to a new file format can be time-consuming. If a project is time-sensitive, every single minute counts, so keeping software up-to-date will avoid this wasted time and ensure that your work will be done on time.

Smarter Users/Employees
Moving from an older to newer technology will be difficult for a few employees that are not technically savvy as they’ll have a hard time adapting to the new change. Make them aware that lack of modern technology knowledge is not a good representation for the company that they work for. I have personally dealt with this type of user and guiding them to understand/learn about the new technology was very difficult for me. I’ve given them plenty of time to learn and at the same time a lot of patience was involved while educating them on the current technology.

Secured network
If you have outdated software and hardware providing security protection, your network can be vulnerable to unauthorized activities that can access your network. Security Vendors (Hardware and Software) can cut-off support on outdated technology as well as updates and patches. There might be a significant potential for compromising corporate data and loss may occur. This can be prevented by implementing the highest encryption that the newer technology has and it’s worth every penny as it will protect your investment. Cleaning out infected computers may take hours or days and may result in considerable downtime.

Enhanced backup system
Worry about your backup system? If you have an old backup system, consider replacing or upgrading this as well. There are a lot of reasonable cloud solutions or hardware devices that are available nowadays in case of any hardware failure caused by any disasters. This article suggests some possible strategies.

Concerns you may have

I have dealt with different IT projects for Small and Medium Businesses on upgrading the company's devices/hardware and software. These are some of the concerns and suggestions I have come across that might be a problem for some businesses.

Do you have an IT budget?
IT budget is one of the primary reasons for businesses as to why they keep on delaying upgrading to the modern technology. The technology implementer will have to come up with a great sales pitch to convince the financial decision maker on a possible technology upgrade. Start off with compiling statistics of the number of employees that are in urgent need of the upgrades. Find out how many employees that are not the priority for now; this will help your company set aside a fair amount of IT budget. Present a simple IT Proposal to the Owners/Management and make it precise. Inform them that there is a variety of financing options available from different Vendors on new software, hardware and affordable payments – just what you need.

Would you need a complete upgrade – hardware/software?
As I said earlier, try not to wait too long on the upgrades, you will be missing out on a lot of hardware and software upgrades, some get decommissioned and replaced with better features so that you can get the most of it. It can be financially burden for your company but it will save a lot of headaches at the end of the day.

Worry about the compatibility issues?
Gathering the data on obsolete products, i.e. hardware and software, can be time-consuming. Plan ahead the preparations that will include training, and setting up your test lab if needed. If you run into any software compatibility issues, give yourself plenty of time to come up with a resolution.

How to deal with non-technically savvy Users?
Make the transition easier for the conservative users. It will be hard for them to adapt to the new changes. Show them how the new technology will benefit them and the business by moving from a very time-consuming to a user-friendly day-to-day work routine.
My final thoughts

Consider at least every three years how to make the most out of the money spent on technology upgrades. Within three years there will be substantial improvements and you’ll have plenty of time to set up new goals, IT budgets, and make sure that users will be ready for something new to learn and be knowledgeable with the modern technology. As time passes, the benefits of the upgrade will be worthwhile; this will reduce the complexity of, and simplify your business operations. Modernized technology will make your business successful.

© 2014 2xg