two business people examining a server and assessing IT network

If you can’t remember the last time you did, you need to update your network.

If you’re the usual small- to mid-sized business owner, you’ve probably grown your organization’s IT network gradually and organically over the past five to ten years since your last major overhaul (if you’ve ever had a major overhaul). Not only that, but you probably started out with consumer grade equipment—consumer grade equipment which was five or ten years behind enterprise grade equipment at the time, and is now some fifteen years behind today’s top of the line equipment.

You might be thinking, “Is it really that bad? We seem to get along okay.” That might be true. But what’s more likely is that you’re so used to your system that you don’t have a good benchmark to judge performance. And that’s a problem, because we can guarantee that the top competitors in your industry, even those with similar sizes and budgets, have upgraded.

How can we guarantee that? Because they are the top competitors.

Up-to-date IT is critical to maintain a competitive edge, and too much has changed in the last decade to make limping along on out-of-date tech a practical choice. Remember, ten years ago smartphones were but a twinkle in Apple’s eye. And “mobile” meant laptops, Blackberry phones with QWERTY keyboards, Palm PDAs and netbooks (remember netbooks?!). A large portion of those devices didn’t have wireless capabilities. Cloud computing was just something Eric Schmidt from Google mentioned once at a conference. Video streaming? It existed, but it wasn’t a viable, often used method of communication, especially for SMBs.

This was the world that your outdated network was likely designed for. Starting to see the issue?
Even if your network is five years old, think back to how you were using computers and what you were using them for in your business in 2012. How much have your processes changed since then? We’re willing to bet a lot.

Other Signs It’s Time to Upgrade

Of course, out of date tech isn’t the only reason you may need to update your network. Think about the following:

Rapid Growth

A rapidly growing company often requires rapid adaptation, and technological needs are high on the list. You’re facing new recruiting and hiring needs, new departments, new locations, and new technology to manage it all. It’s indisputably time to assess your needs and upgrade. And when you do, make scalability a priority. After all, who knows when you’ll have another growth spurt!

IT is an Operational Bottleneck

This one is a bit harder for to quantify if your network isn’t obviously out-of-date. But it does happen, and it usually means it’s time to lean on your managed IT service for a detailed assessment. If your managers and employees are coming to you saying that their performance is hampered because they’re lacking IT tools, it’s probably time to revisit your network. Get as much (and as detailed) feedback as you can from your people, and consult with an IT professional for further direction.

A Change in Direction

If your company’s vision, objectives, or short and long term goals have changed, your network needs are probably going to change as well. Is your company venturing into the customer service side of the industry when you’ve previously outsourced that function? You’ll need to accommodate a call center and learn about VOIP technology. Are you upping your data mining or predictive analysis game for R&D or more intensive marketing? Time to take a look at server capacity.

Updating your network is the kind of capital investment that can pay off in increased productivity and capability for years. To help you make the best use of your resources, we offer an IT audit to assess your current network. Contact us today to get your network update on track.

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