The Speed of Obsolescence: How can SMEs keep up with rapidly changing technology?

The digital and technology environment is changing faster than ever before. With brand new technology, particularly hardware, going out of date within the space of just a few years, small and medium-sized businesses are being forced to come up with solutions quickly and on a regular basis to overcome the consequences.

Affording and getting access to the latest technologies can be tough for many organisations..

One of the main challenges for most SMEs with regard to technological advancements is the extent to which vast legacy systems and applications are embedded within their organisation. These make it extremely difficult to make changes or upgrade to modern solutions. This becomes increasingly difficult if the update or tech introduction is radically different from what’s already in place. Before any innovation can take place, the current systems must be maintained, cultivated and supported.

Added to this, there is the mounting pressure for businesses to be seen to be high tech and competing at the forefront of the industry. Now that the technology cycle has rapidly sped up, and continues to do so, businesses are feeling the need to squeeze more and more updates into each budget cycle. In the past, technology updates may have been implemented every three to five years, but the demand is now far greater, with new updates needed multiple times a year.

Combine that with what seems like a never-ending list of new and different platforms and technologies that need integrating into the business, such as cloud computing, big data security and social media, and you have an abundance of competing priorities.

How Can SME Leaders Adapt to Rapid Technology Updates?

Only Integrate What Your Business Needsbusinesses and technology
Assess all of your business objectives and strategies in isolation from any technology offerings or products. With so many technology products and tools available and changes becoming faster and faster, the decision-making process can be extremely overwhelming for SMEs. It’s important to remember that you need to choose the right tool for your business and its needs. Ensure that you are streamlining and adapting everything to fit in with your goals, instead of purchasing for purchasing’s sake.

Keep Plans Fluid

Although business and infrastructure plans will have been scoped out and implemented long ago, it is important to remain as agile as possible with regard to technology updates. Remain in the loop with tech industry news and keep plans fluid to ensure that you can steer your business in the same direction as the rest of the world.

Build Partnerships
Partnering with vendors who offer the latest technology can be a perfect solution to getting access to new updates without having to invest large amounts of money. Whether you want to get access to new innovation through start-ups or have a particular affinity with a product or brand, partnerships can be great options for both product- and knowledge-sharing, if they are mutually beneficial.

Brief and Train Staff
It’s vitally important that you bring your staff along on the journey too. When technology updates or new infrastructures are on the horizon, try to provide staff with as much warning as possible. This not only allows them to process the changes and accept them, but also gives them the opportunity to access any necessary training. If the update is significant, it’s important SME leaders provide training not only before the launch but also after the successful implementation, to ensure staff have the opportunity to voice concerns and remain informed.

Finance Partnership Options
With money often being the main setback for SMEs wanting to access new tech, a great solution is partnering with an IT finance provider. Finance can play a variety of roles in helping reach your business objectives and goals, particularly in relation to acquisition of new technology. Whether you’re looking to sign up for ongoing software-as-a-service, or one-off investments in hardware, partnering with a finance provider can help grant your business immediate access without the upfront costs.

Find out more about how Wesleyan Bank can assist with IT upgrades by providing finance today by contacting us.