Enterprise technology is great — but only when it’s up to date, correctly implemented and tailored to your business needs. At best, outdated programs and antiquated electronics make life harder; at worst, they actively prevent growth and make digital transformation completely impossible.
So, is your enterprise tech past its sell-by date? In this post, we’ll tell you how to spot expired software and why upgrading could save you time, money and stress.
What Is Enterprise Technology?
Enterprise technology is a catchall term for all the IT resources — and all the data — you share across your business. Your content management system (CMS), your customer relations management (CRM) software and, if applicable, your proprietary enterprise software all fall into the enterprise technology category.
In a broader sense, the enterprise technology umbrella also covers hardware: computers, servers, mobile devices and PBX systems, for instance. Many companies with limited IT budgets use the same electronics for years, upgrading specific components from time to time in a quest to save money. This strategy is almost always a mistake: if your tech isn’t up to scratch in today’s digital business landscape, you risk falling behind the curve. After all, legacy electronics can’t support cutting-edge software.
How Can Outdated Tech Hurt Your Business?
Simply put, outdated tech — hardware and software — won’t take you where you want to go. Obsolete computer systems eventually break down as internal components wear out, and older software gradually slides into obsolescence. Surely upgrading is a no-brainer? Well, you’d think so.
Free security patches for Windows 7 stopped going out in January 2020, leaving the legacy operating system vulnerable to attack — but some businesses still haven’t let go. A somewhat shocking Spiceworks survey conducted in 2019 found that 32% of companies had at least one connected Windows XP machine. Extended support for Windows XP — originally released in 2001 — stopped in 2014.
Some people like retro stuff, and that’s okay. Companies must adapt, however, if they intend to survive in the long term. According to recent research by Genpact, companies that embrace technologies like AI will vastly outpace non-AI companies by 2025, leaving late adopters dead in the water. By all means, wear bell bottoms to the disco — but reject digital transformation at your peril.
“By 2025, companies that have adopted AI will be 10 times more efficient and have twice the market share of companies that have not.” — Vikram Mahidhar, Genpact
Seven Signs Your Enterprise Technology Needs an Upgrade
Your enterprise software feels comfortable, like an old shoe. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Let’s find out. Here are seven signs your enterprise technology might need tossing out.
1. You Can’t Access New Opportunities
If you’ve been working the same system for a while and your competitors are ahead in the marketplace, it might be time to swap old for new. Older infrastructures are a real burden, and not just from an internal perspective; outmoded tech can put potential customers off your company and depress your conversion rate.
Brand new technology — including CaaS, PaaS, SaaS and other lightweight cloud-based services — can help you turn visitors into customers. When consumers enjoy working with you, they morph into natural affiliates for your company.
2. Your System Feels Clunky
Dysfunctional systems make special demands. If you find yourself modifying processes to suit your outdated enterprise software, it’s time to move on. Modern collaborative tools — videoconference apps, for instance — don’t play well with legacy programs, and without an up-to-date communications suite, remote work is much harder.
Spinning beach balls and sand timer icons simply don’t have a place in today’s digital business world. If your back-end looks like a game of Minecraft and menus take more than a second to load, it could be time for a new IT strategy.
3. Sales Are Down
Your rival just released its quarterly shareholder report and your own company’s earnings don’t look so hot in comparison. What’s gone wrong? If you haven’t upgraded your electronics or systems lately, your sales sag could stem from tech neglect.
User experience is everything in today’s marketplace, and consumers gravitate toward great service. Businesses with updated enterprise technology accordingly run rings around those without. If your competitor subscribes to a new CRM and your company doesn’t, your rival will probably make a big profit while you count pennies.
4. Your Enterprise Isn’t Growing
You and your executive team came up with a vision plan at the beginning of the year, but your company hasn’t grown as expected. Unfortunately, growth projections based on pure optimism usually don’t pan out.
Most really successful companies try to envision the tech they’ll need well in advance. Instead of making do with old software and hardware, they invest in good quality systems and electronics. Some businesses lease computers and other devices from hardware as a service (HaaS) providers to minimize risk and keep costs low.
5. Your Tech Isn’t Flexible
Last week, one of your suppliers wanted to connect your system with theirs via RESTful API — but your enterprise system doesn’t support API integration. Yesterday, you spent an hour on the phone trying to negotiate a new bandwidth deal with your ISP. Sound familiar? If you have to wrestle your tech into submission on a regular basis, consider a more suitable setup.
Modern tech stacks generally begin in the cloud. When businesses opt for cloud-based data storage, communications platforms and SaaS e-commerce systems, they save a lot of money and gain flexible, scalable, sustainable tools for growth.
6. Work-Arounds Abound
If you have to jump through hoops to print documents or integrate new hardware, you might be suffering from dated tech syndrome. Further symptoms include missed deadlines, decreased productivity and frustrated IT professionals.
Tech can help, or it can hinder. Don’t let your enterprise technology hold you back. Instead, recover your eroding market share with a set of modular IT solutions. Swap little pieces of your legacy stack for microservices and pretty soon you’ll find it easier to respond to changes in the market.
7. Orphan Core Apps
Your enterprise software is the equivalent of an abandoned galleon, floating on a vast digital sea. In other words, developer support for your ancient system ended years ago. If your IT department has to patch security risks because your program vendor doesn’t exist any more, let your system go.
When businesses rely on orphan apps, they scupper themselves. Older systems are leaky and easy to hack, so they don’t protect consumer data properly. In contrast, modern cloud-based programs receive regular updates and stay secure under pressure.
Seven Advantages of New Enterprise Technology
The right enterprise technology makes life much easier. When companies leave old systems behind and embrace appropriate new tech, they open the door to growth and prosperity. Here are seven ways your business could benefit from a digital upgrade.
1. Efficient Communication
Cloud-based communications platforms, business VoIP and embedded chat apps are efficient and relatively cheap. If you don’t need an entire communications suite, pick a set of stand-alone apps and integrate them into your existing system. If you prefer an all-in-one solution, go for a unified platform instead. Mobile chat apps keep teams connected on the go and make life easier for remote workers.
2. Flexible, Scalable Systems
Contemporary enterprise systems are scalable — plus they’re flexible enough to integrate with vendor systems and external apps. Virtual workspaces make collaboration easier and facilitate file sharing between teams — and between remote workers and on-site workers. Better still, you can employ as many people as you like without expanding your physical office. Cloud-based software is effectively an on-demand product, so if your company gets bigger, your system grows along with it.
3. Better Security
Modern business tech is much more secure than outdated software. If you choose a cloud-based solution, you won’t have to worry about manual security patches or upgrades because they’ll roll out automatically. Cloud solutions providers invest heavily in data protection services and authentication, so that’s one less thing to budget for. As a bonus, cloud-based systems back up data in several different locations: If a server dies, the show goes on regardless.
4. Diverse Data Storage
No room for a server bay? No problem. Cloud-based business data storage solutions are more affordable than ever, and they’re simple to use. Like other cloud-based products, data as a service (DaaS) is generally a pay-as-you-go product — and you can access your data anywhere, anytime. DaaS is ideal for distributed teams, and it’s much less expensive than a set of physical servers.
5. Reduced IT Expenses
On-premise software development is prohibitively expensive. In contrast, software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) technologies are far less costly and provide great value for money. If you don’t have a traditional IT department, or if you run a slimline IT department, you can work with an SaaS provider instead. Contrastingly, PaaS systems let customers develop, manage and run completely unique applications in the cloud.
6. Robust Supply Chain Management
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software works beautifully in a supply chain management (SCM) system. Up-to-date enterprise systems connect with many external vendors via API, too, so you can monitor and change parts of your supply chain on the fly. Wholesale products, ingredients and components keep flowing, and so does your operation.
7. Advanced Analytics
Up-to-date customer relations management (CRM) systems log every single consumer interaction. AI-driven warehouse management systems (WMS) collect vast amounts of data. The more data you gather, the more advanced your analytics — and advanced analytics provide game-changing insight.
Transforming Gradually Versus Suddenly
Digital transformation sounds grand and revolutionary, but many companies evolve gradually rather than suddenly. Wholesale digital transformation in one fell swoop is a massive endeavor; it takes months of planning to achieve, and all workers — from the boardroom to the stock floor — must be fully on board.
Most businesses change progressively rather than overnight. Hardware assessments lead to electronics upgrades. Outdated apps get replaced, and microservices introduce new concepts. Finally, larger on-premise enterprise systems are swept away in favor of contemporary cloud-based software packages.
Recapping Enterprise Tech
Enterprise tech is an umbrella term used to describe enterprise-related software, hardware and data. CRM, OMS, WMS and CMS systems are all examples of enterprise tech — and so are databases, e-commerce applications and cloud-based storage plans. The term also covers enterprise hardware — computers, mobile devices and other electronics, for instance.
Outdated enterprise technology severely hampers digital progress. Old hardware can’t support new software, and outdated programming stifles growth and wastes time. Simply put, if you don’t upgrade, you leave profit — and digital transformation — on the table.
Transform With DMI
Digital transformation doesn’t have to be daunting — in fact, it can be exciting. We guide our clients through every stage of the process, and we leverage our technical expertise and industry knowledge to achieve remarkable results. If you’re ready to invest in change, connect with us online or call us in person at the DMI office at 855-963-2099.