Large companies with huge amounts of capital may have the luxury of modernizing their workforce alongside technological developments, but such is not always the case for small businesses and entrepreneurs. For CPG organizations and businesses with representatives working in the field, away from a central office, maintaining a competitive level of modernity is becoming increasingly important. So exactly how often should business owners upgrade to a newer technology? While the period will vary depending on the industry and size of the company, there are some general questions that manager and business owners can ask themselves to get an idea of when they should upgrade. Here are five things to consider when the tech upgrade conversation arises.
1. Is our software optimized for our hardware?
Field-based organizations—especially those utilizing Field Activity Management Software to monitor reps and their operations—should always be aware of software updates which may render their current devices obsolete. As time goes on, software developers will design products around the hardware habits of their customer base. What this means is that for the average businessperson, there is a constant need to be in the majority when it comes to hardware usage. Falling behind for too long a period of time will result in developers slowing support at first, and eventually cutting out support for certain platforms completely.
2. Will our employees be able to adapt to new hardware?
Employees are the lifeblood of a successful field-based organization, and ensuring that employees are willing and able to adapt along with technology is an important factor to consider when upgrading. In instances where the capability to change and learn a new technology exists, but employees are hesitant to change, consider a rollout of the new hardware over time. Employees will be more accepting of changes in hardware if they can transition into using it at their own pace.
3. Is there a new model coming soon?
Sometimes it just makes more sense to wait when considering an upgrade to new hardware. Most technology today, especially mobile devices, have newer versions released every couple of years or sooner. Doing the appropriate research and following press reports can potentially save a business several thousand dollars in the long run.
4. Will upgrading make us more competitive?
It’s the old adage: If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. If upgrading to newer hardware isn’t going to give an organization a significant boost to productivity or deliver a high ROI, it may not be worth the investment.
5. Does our software still meet organizational needs?
Businesses should use the period before buying new hardware as a time to review the current software being used. It’s very easy to fall into a system where the “same old same” isn’t questioned because it has been used for so long. If there are newer software solutions available to the organization, they should be weighed against the current solution and given serious consideration. Hardware should always follow software when it comes to decision making—not the other way around.
While upgrading to a new hardware solution can be an expensive and inconvenient necessity, contemplating some of the above questions before making any purchases should help to seriously curb potential buyer’s remorse.
Cam Garrant is the marketing manager at Repsly. Passionate about delivering quality content and data-driven insights, Cam's interests include SEO, basketball, and bad jokes.