What’s okay today may not be so tomorrow.
It Still Works… three words that anyone working in IT services will have heard at some point. It’s a perfectly valid objection to buying new technology: the existing solutions are functioning perfectly well, so why replace them? In other words, if it ain't broke... Also, keeping what you’ve got will save you money and make sure you get maximum value for money.
Indeed, in many cases this is perfectly true. Who hasn’t worked somewhere where a new technology or IT system has been brought in, perhaps by a well-meaning but misguided boss, only to cause more problems than it solved?
However, It Still Works can be just as problematic, and there are a few potential pitfalls all businesses should look to avoid.
When asked about the technology your organisation uses, you might be tempted to assume It Still Works, because you haven’t noticed any changes in its behaviour or it might not seem to be causing you any problems. But without looking at your IT solutions properly, you could easily be mistaken. That’s why it’s a good idea to carry out IT audits from time to time, just to make sure everything is working as it should.
Why don’t people generally recommend using asbestos any more? It Still Works, but we know exposure to it can also lead to serious health problems later on. In the same way, aging technology may still be functional, but it could also be a threat to your business, thanks to unpatched vulnerabilities and out-of-date security measures. With criminals more than happy to exploit these weaknesses to steal from you or disrupt your work, you should never underestimate the importance of cyber security.
Be Aware Of Your Rivals
You might be hanging on to your old IT equipment or software for as long as It Still Works, but that doesn’t mean your competitors will do the same. The link between technology and competitive advantage is well established: companies can do more, in less time, with a greater understanding of business processes and workflows. If you’re not at least aware of what the competition is using, then you risk being left behind.
There are times when we know we’re going to have to make changes to our IT, whether we want to or not. When Microsoft drops support for Windows 7 in 2020, for example, it’s going to be necessary to change to a newer operating system, such as Windows 10. And by the time the traditional phone lines are switched off in 2025, businesses will need to have moved over to a digital alternative. With that in mind, it might make sense to upgrade now, while it’s still convenient and before any additional funds are spent supporting the existing, but soon to be obsolete, technology.
Another good reason to review your IT solutions is simply because you might otherwise miss out on features that would be useful to you. Having carried out an IT audit, you might say It Still Works, and decide there are no newer technologies that would benefit your business – or at least not enough to make them worth the expense. The important thing is to make an informed choice about what you have and what you might need in future.
It Still Works, And That’s Okay
How often you carry out IT audits depends on several factors, including the size of your organisation, whether you have a dedicated IT department, and the nature of your business. In general, you should be looking to review your current IT solutions at least twice a year, as this may help you to spot problems before they grow and will help you to keep on top of licensing agreements and so on.
At the end of your audit, you might find It Still Works and nothing more needs to be done. But if you find anything different, you’ll be glad you made the effort.
Don't have the time or expertise to carry out your own IT audit? Contact us to arrange a free audit with TMB.