Imagine you spent your whole life up to date with every new singer and song. One day, you realize that not only do you not recognize anything on the radio, but the music isn’t what it used to be. Then, you start to avoid new stuff while only listening to things from the good old days.
While this might work for you in your personal life, this could be devastating in the business world, especially when it comes to your network. We live in an age where virtually all companies utilize technology. If you consistently hold on to older technology, you could find yourself straining to compete as those devices struggle to stay alive.
The March of Progress Waits for No One
There are certain technologies you can use for a decade or more while others become outdated within weeks. Of course, how and when a technology becomes obsolete varies depending on a variety of factors. For the sake of this discussion, we will use two different terms: functional obsolescence and absolute obsolescence.
Absolute Obsolescence occurs when it’s physically impossible to use the technology. For instance, a computer without a modem or ethernet port would make connecting to the internet impossible. Utilizing a line of business application that runs solely off floppy disks also falls in this category.
Functional Obsolescence is a bit different. This is when something technically works but is not advisable. An example of this would be using Windows 7 after January 20, 2020. Although possible to use, you’re asking for your system to be hacked and files compromised due to security holes. Using older software often limits its functionality. Think of trying to create a .docx file (current MS Word format) while using Word 97 (only capable of .doc). It’s like trying to get blood out of a stone.
Keep yourself informed about end dates. Be proactive with update schedules to make the prospect of upgrading less of a burden. Be aware of when certain parts of software will no longer be supported so that you can plan for a transition. This will make normal operations significantly smoother, as well as make it easier to recover should you ever experience a data loss event.
Perception Is Everything
Besides the explicit risks of using obsolete technology, we need to consider perception. Using updated technology displays success and professionalism. Perception is worth its weight in gold when it works in our favor. In certain industries, there is massive competition between individual providers and companies. Customers can have very little reason to choose one over another, so this perception is critical.
There’s a reason why companies who invest in new technology often spend good money to advertise it to the public. Unless a potential customer is familiar with the expertise and reputation of your business, they rely on signals like your technology. Using noticeably out of date technology can leave a negative impression and make them think twice before doing business with you.
The Bottom Line
A generation ago, using computers was a luxury. However, that is no longer the case. From web designers to lumberjacks, just about every industry requires technology to some extent. Instead of trying to fight it, proper planning and implementation can make this fact of life work in your favor.
Consider it time to plan a technology refresh. Since everyone is in the same boat, there are plenty of options to accommodate even the most tech-illiterate user. Subscription services have become an immensely popular option for software, making sure that users always have the most current versions. You pay monthly or yearly for taking the guesswork out of upgrading.
When it comes down to it, much like the rest of life and business, balance is key. You shouldn’t make new technology your center of focus, but try not to be stubborn about upgrading either. Remember, while you may be comfortable rocking out to the oldies, there’s still plenty of value in what’s new and fresh.