7 Ways Outdated IT Systems are Slowing your Company’s Growth
25 October 2021
The IT industry is constantly changing, and this means that businesses of every size and scope need to keep up with the latest technologies in order to stay competitive. If your business’s IT infrastructure is falling behind, then you are risking losing out on new opportunities and making it harder for your employees to do their jobs. And yet, there are still so many businesses who do not pay enough attention to their IT systems or don’t realise that even a top-of-the-line setup can quickly become dated.
To help every business recognise where improvements can be made, here are 7 ways outdated IT systems are slowing your company’s progression and affecting your chance of success.
1. Interrupted Workflows and Processes
At the heart of every business is a set of daily, weekly, or monthly processes that need to be completed in order for it to run smoothly and efficiently. When something interrupts these workflows, such as an outdated system or poorly trained employees, your business will quickly feel the effects.
As Bill Gates himself wrote in his book Business @ the Speed of Thought: Succeeding in the Digital Economy, “A lousy process will consume ten times as many hours as the work itself requires.” In fact, the average office employee loses around 24 days of productivity every year because they have to wait for slow IT systems.
In order to help rather than hinder your business, you need to know exactly what your employees are doing on a daily basis, and how their work is being interrupted or impeded by the current IT system. Knowing where processes are breaking down will allow you to make informed decisions about where improvements need to be made first when you are looking to update your business’s IT infrastructure. While these updates may be costly, they will ultimately save your business time and money in the long run.
2. Stunted Growth
When your business’ IT systems are overburdened by multiple users accessing old databases and apps, you will be unable to keep up with your growth and expansion plans. It doesn’t matter how good your products are or how much better your services are than your competitors, your growth will inevitably slow and then cease altogether without the right systems in place.
To facilitate future growth and ensure that your business has a bright future, you need to make sure that your IT infrastructure can handle additional employees and new software applications without slowing down or crashing.
Check how many users are on each system at any given time, what apps or programs people are using most often (and which ones they aren’t), and where future expansions will take place. Knowing these details ahead of time will enable you to implement an effective upgrade schedule before moving forward with expansion plans rather than scrambling later when everything falls behind.
3. Lack of Results or Sales
At the end of the day, the measure of a successful business is in your bottom line, but an outdated IT system can seriously hamper your ability to make sales or secure new customers. For example, if employees are unable to access the online databases or apps they need in order to close deals with new customers, then you will find yourself struggling to succeed in whatever industry your business is operating. In order to improve your results, it is crucial that your business is at least equipped with the latest software and IT systems that your competition is using.
Knowing where results fall short will help you pinpoint problem areas for future upgrades and expansion plans down the line. While certain changes may be expensive (SMEs spend an average of 6.9% of revenues on their IT systems) or time-consuming, any investments made in IT infrastructure now could mean a much larger return later when sales start to climb thanks to streamlined workflows enabled by newer technology.
4. An Inability to Effectively Adapt to Industry Changes
The world is constantly changing all around us, and yet there are so many companies who are stuck in the past when it comes to updating their IT systems. Antiquated, bug-ridden software and processes can make it impossible to compete in any industry, so as soon as something becomes outdated, it is vital that you identify the issue and fix it.
When problems arise because IT systems aren’t able to keep up with evolving industry standards and practices, productivity will suffer as a result which can ultimately lead to serious consequences down the road. Keeping pace with technological changes within its industry should be part of every company’s growth strategy. Remember, standing still is the same as going backwards so you need to constantly be looking to adapt and evolve.
5. Losing Out To Competition
It doesn’t matter how good your business is if you are unable to adapt quickly enough in order to keep up with the competition. If you lack an effective IT system, then it will be very difficult for your employees to complete tasks on time, reach out to customers, and deliver good service, all of which can seriously affect your standing within the industry.
For example, one thing which customers these days are very concerned about is security. Incredibly, 60% of businesses that are victims of cyberattacks go under within six months. This is sometimes the result of financial losses sustained during the attack but is often because customers lose confidence in the company. If you don’t want to lose customers to your competitors, make sure your IT security systems are up to scratch.
6. Missing Out On New Opportunities
When things start falling through the cracks at work due to outdated software or faulty hardware, take a step back and consider exactly how much revenue was lost as a result in order to identify problem areas more objectively. For example, if one specific department keeps missing out on contract after contract, for example, you will need to look at their IT systems and assess where major upgrades need to take place.
In order to avoid missing out on lucrative new opportunities, you need a business that is equipped with the most up-to-date IT systems and software. In addition to increasing productivity levels across every department, this will ensure your company doesn’t fall behind when it comes to growing as quickly as possible thanks to streamlined workflows enabled by newer technology.
7. Wasting Money on IT Fixes
When something goes wrong within your organisation’s IT infrastructure, there could be several underlying issues that need addressing. However, without the requisite knowledge and technology, you could end up spending a lot of resources only focusing on the symptoms rather than the actual root issue. If you want to avoid wasting money when it comes to dealing with IT problems, then your business needs to invest in greater staff training and effective infrastructure so that employees are able to complete tasks more efficiently.
In order to stabilise your IT system without wasting money, it is important for you to learn more about what’s causing the problem before taking action. If employees aren’t given the right training or if they don’t have access to high-powered hardware that can handle resource-heavy software effectively, then problems will continue popping up all over again and waste valuable time which could be spent elsewhere instead.
To Sum Up
It is important for small businesses to understand that outdated IT systems can have a big impact on their growth. If you are unable to keep pace with the competition because your company’s infrastructure isn’t up-to-date, then you will struggle to grow as quickly as possible.
If you need help with auditing your business’s IT systems and implementing effective upgrades, get in touch with us and we will be able to guide you through every step of the process.