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How fast should your company jump on new technology

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Ted Blackwater ▼ | July 4, 2016
There's no doubt new technologies are helping companies reach their goals faster and cheaper than ever before. From mobile phones to computers, they help us work faster and more efficient, but...
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You migh have heard funny stories about some government agencies still using floppy disk and "ancient" computers or stories about big companies using programming languages so old that it's hard to find a programmer who can change something if needed. Funny stories at the first sight, but if you stop for a while and think, there is some good reasoning behind that.

Companies, as well as consumers, are bombarded with marketing messages every day: from the newest communication devices to computers, it seems that every single device is a "game changer". There are so many game changers these day that "change" lost its meaning, and the only "game" is to pull additional money from buyers' pockets.

So, how to balance what your company really needs with all those offerings in the market?

There are two things to think about. First, is your current equipment up to the task? If, for example, all computers in your accounting department are working fine, there's no need to change them if they are not broken. Look at this from the other side: If you have 200 invoices to send out every day and your computers can do that, do you really need new, superfast computers that can process 2,000 invoices?

Second, think about your employees. They are all bombarded every day with a huge number of information - like all of us - and they hardly have time for their personal life.

A good recipe to stay sane and be more productive is - to work slower. If you are working on a slower computer - not as slow as a snail, but just a bit slower than your brain can process information - your brain will have time to process information in a proper way, without being forced to work non-stop.

It is known that the superfast computers force users to work without rest and that leads to bad things: from inability to focus properly to problems with eyes because they have no time to rest now and then. So, don't ask your employees to follow the best technology available, humans are better than computers in many tasks, but at simple information processing they are not.

The philosophy is simple: If it's not broken, don't fix it. If your technology is working well, let it work. If you are spreading and need new device to support your business, you will, of course, buy new equipment. In any other case, stay with what you got. Have an old computer? Old software? If it works, who cares, save your money for day when you will really need new things.

And don't forget that new devices need new software, installation, adaptation to your existing system, maintenance, education... And, you all experienced that personally, the newest hardware and software brings bugs and other problems that are usually solved in the second version. And you don't want problems if you are running a business.

However, you should be prepared: Everything breaks down eventually and so will your old equipment one day. You should have copies of your documents in appropriate formats to be ready to transfer your data to a new system when the time comes. You can buy new hardware but you can't buy months and years worth of work.

To go into new technologies just for the sake of having the "newest computers in town" is not a good idea. You'll get more headache than benefits. If you are prepared, don't fix it if it's not broken.