03 9008 5950

Letting Go: 5 signs it’s time for a systems upgrade

(AKA When it’s time to say goodbye to the software and systems you spent a small fortune acquiring)

Before we consider your business, I want you to take a stroll down memory lane. Do you remember buying your first smartphone? If you’re a former PC user, when did you consider buying your first Mac? Do you remember asking a sales assistant a list of questions?

“Why does it do X instead of Y?”
“Can you make it do X the way I used to do it with Y?”
“Why are they making us do it this way?”

I bring this up because no matter what was on your list back then, chances are you were really asking one question over and over again;

“Why should I change?”

And that sales assistant you were speaking to? That was me in a former life. I can tell you, I’ve heard all the questions before and I’ve given all the answers.

Sometimes these questions are asked under less than ideal circumstances. Perhaps devices are missing or broken, backups failed, support staff resigned or retired. Maybe the tool is no longer supported by the manufacturer or developer.

In any of these cases, you’re being forced into an upgrade scenario you didn’t expect or want. It’s happened to us all in our private lives, and it happens in business all the time.

Fast forward to today, and I can tell you that a great deal of the prospective clients I speak to have come to us because something, somewhere, has broken. But it’s never just as simple as walking in and buying a new smartphone. Typically, the upgrade you want to make to your business systems will need to be approved by someone else, or a group of someones. Or maybe you’re that someone.

In any case, it’s important to note here that everyone, no matter what you may think of yourself, is inherently going to want to take the path of least resistance. Sorry to burst that bubble, but you’re guided by biology instead of your astounding business acumen.

Read ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ by Daniel Kahneman if that hits a nerve.

Sometimes least resistance means making the obvious choice to upgrade. Perhaps your entire system had a catastrophic meltdown after your IT guy spilled Mountain Dew on the server. And you’ve been meaning to investigate “that cloud thing” anyway. Or maybe the software you’re using has changed file types and you need the upgrade to remain current with your clients.

Great! You’re at the point of making an upgrade already, so get on with it.

But maybe, just maybe, it’s not that black and white. Maybe you’ve spent a ton of money on that server, or tens of thousands of dollars getting that ERP system customised just how you like it – and maybe it’s all working to the best of your knowledge, “just fine”. Maybe you’ve “done the numbers” and you’re alarmed at the prospect of spending a few thousand dollars on getting your data moved over to another system.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to look at the warning signs along the way to making a decision to update, or not.

5 Signs It’s Time To Upgrade:

  1. Your software maintenance costs used to be one-time or ‘pay as you upgrade’, but now your software vendor is changing to a monthly pricing model for exactly the same platform. This is a massive red flag, and really just means the software vendor is failing to hit sales targets, so they’re copying the SAAS (software as a service) business model to make up for the shortfall by squeezing their current customers.
  2. Your current IT support warns you away from any suggestion of upgrades, and it suspiciously seems they don’t offer anything close to the new solutions you’ve recommended. It’s pretty easy to see through IT staff who have failed to stay up-to-date with product development. Seek a fresh perspective from a fresh set of eyes and ears. Hey, you should check out this company Waypoint
  3. You’re not willing to kiss goodbye to the fat stack of cash you invested in your previous system. If you’re being presented with a ton of good reasons to make a change but THIS is why you don’t want to, then maybe the software isn’t the problem. Maybe it’s you. In fact, there’s probably a few other areas of the business being beaten into submission by this kind of backwards thinking. This kind of reasoning communicates a sense of pride and ego to all those affected by your choice, but not in the good way. Seriously, let it go…
    let it go… turn away and slam the door…

  4. Your staff are languishing in a slow, outdated system that doesn’t adhere to modern design principles. EVERYTHING starts and ends with your staff, but they don’t live only in your office or on your system. They’re being taken on an educational safari by Google, Facebook and Apple CONSTANTLY, re-teaching them better, more efficient and innovative ways to work with (what essentially boils down to) information and communication. If your system looks like a relic of the 1990s or the early 2000s, their interaction with your systems will become more antiquated and clunky over time. Their dissatisfaction levels will grow. Their productivity will suffer. And you can guarantee there’s at least one staff member who has been vocal about this. But if you’re not hearing it, either one of two things is happening; your system is actually fine, or you’re being buffered by someone in middle-management who is shutting down the discontent.
  5. Your staff are using a smattering of disconnected third-party tools to get their jobs done. Sure, this seems like ingenuity at first, and maybe you’ve even thought “gee-whiz, they’re a bunch of go-getters” when you’ve been shown “how it all works”. I’ve got bad news for you, though; if you need all kinds of different services to make up for system inadequacies, your system is already dead and you just don’t know it yet.

There could be a plethora of other reasons you’re reluctant to make a big change, but I don’t care about them. In fact, you shouldn’t either. If there’s one takeaway from all of this, it’s that you should start by looking for all the reasons FOR making an upgrade first. Take everything else out of the equation. And ask if those reasons will equal doing a better job, lead to faster turnaround times and better efficiencies, or if they’ll be the difference between slogging away after hours or getting to spend more time with the ones you love.

Whether your inner voice is screaming “THAT’S IT!” right now or you’re still floating in that grey area of doubt, get in touch with the team at Waypoint. We’re systems experts in the technology and small business space, and we’ll help you make that list and give you a bird’s-eye view on what you’re doing and what you can do better. 

Give us a call on (03) 9008 5950 or visit our website to see what we’re all about.