The Technology Buying Cycle: How Often Should Your Business Update Its Technology?

Technology Buying Cycle

In order for a business to operate at the highest and most effective level, companies must repeatedly reexamine their sense of purpose and make sure the organization serves it well. Possessing such a strong sense of purpose needs constant support from its employees, and those employees need tools to serve that purpose. Providing the right technology tools for employees and management is one of the most important aspects of a successful business.

At some point, your IT equipment will no longer meet those needs. Either your business will outgrow the equipment, it will become too slow, or the technology itself will become outdated. Deciding when your business needs to make an upgrade means looking for the signs that your technology is beginning to strain. It is inextricably linked to most employees' everyday routines and unlike most purchases, technology is not a one-time transaction. It needs continual attention and support and a specific process when it comes to updating and upgrading.

The Sure Signs

If you find yourself constantly wasting time fixing quirks or if you are religiously saving your files in fear of the program unexpectedly closing, it might be time to upgrade. If your computer gets hotter than your morning cup of coffee, it might be a sign that your hardware cannot adequately cool down, meaning it is too old.

Aging hardware is not the only reason businesses feel the need to replace their machines. Older computers are unlikely to support newer operating systems. Software upgrades are necessary because the manufacturer will cease support, which means your software lacks the ability to “play well” with other software and leaves you completely unprotected against the latest security threats.

When a business goes from an older operating system to the newest one available, underlying hardware requirements also go up.

The Benefits

With investing in an updated IT system, your business will be more efficient and will be able to do more, every day.  New computer systems take up less space and use less power. They have more memory and they're more powerful. They typically have additional functionality. Perhaps the greatest benefit is being able to maintain a manufacturer’s warranty on the new hardware, meaning if some component dies you have replacement parts available to you quickly and without additional charge.

Creating a Plan

The critical thing here is to actually have a plan. That plan needs to cover options for different types of employees, such as those who are fixed and those who are mobile. This requires thought about the role of the employee, the tools necessary and the usage of those tools. The plan needs to outline needs to determine the expectations of the end-users and the plan should pave the way to increase productivity for the business to reach its goals more efficiently. It needs to have the right decision makers involved and the right vendor to purchase from.

The right vendor will lead you and guide you in this activity. Depending upon your relationship, the vendor can help you by managing your lifecycle plan for all IT equipment. Here at Advantage Technology, we can help in all stages of planning and we’ve found we possess insight that can save our clients substantially through our recommendations, over sourcing their own equipment.

Who to Involve

  • Power users – These are people who are typically front line, people who understand the software, system and process (but might have limited knowledge of information outside of this) and a detailed but limited scope. This is where the technology performs or fails to perform, based on the people using it. They also serve in an informal support role to others as it relates to usage of the technology (in their respective area). At the onset of the buying process, they uncover specific needs and usage requirements.
  • Technical decision makers – They are in charge of some degree of implementing and supporting the technology, if even just interoperability with other technology and supporting users. They will have to have buy-in, in order to get the greatest usage and reliability for the investment. Highly technical buys, you would want to involve them throughout the process, as they are important stakeholders.
  • Business decision makers - The level of involvement depends upon the impact of the technology being procured. If the investment has great stakes to impact the business (positively or negatively) business decision makers should be involved. The sooner the business decision makers can be involved, the better, because they will be able to set priorities and realistic budget information necessary to align the purchase with business needs and limitations. Their buy-in will also be important to drive the message down the organization and champion adoption, etc. Business decision makers can be involved heavily at the onset to identify the needs and goals and again at the end of the buying process to qualify accordingly.
  • Financial decision makers – These decision makers are more involved at onset than at the end. They are responsible for setting expectations for upfront, ongoing costs (including company resources, time) and return. The financial decision-making team will generally control the overall budget.

The Bottom Line

Whether by hardware failure or outdated software or true technology innovation, you will have to replace your equipment at some point.  The good news is, new computers offer faster speeds with multiple core processors, improved energy efficiency, new connectivity options better graphics for handling video, and a better user experience with widescreen displays. The impact of new server, storage and networking technology is even more drastic, in terms of performance improvement.

No matter where your business is going, it’s important to decide whether you should simply upgrade or purchase entirely new equipment. Ultimately, business technology upgrades are far more cost-effective and efficient when you use a managed IT solutions provider like Advantage Technology. We are uniquely positioned to help you determine the best path to move forward in customizing the solutions that work the way your business works. Call us today at 866-793-8232 to see how we can help your business and technology be up to date and efficient.