One of the easiest ways you can improve your business is by updating the software you use for all your systems. Whether it’s sales, accounting, purchasing, or other operations, there is a good reason to be up to date with the latest software. Most vendors and IT company developers are continually making improvements to their software. A lot of companies worry about the costs associated with upgrading to newer software. If you’ve purchased specific versions of a software, many vendors offer free upgrades.
IT experts also recommend switching to cloud-based software subscriptions, when possible. Upgrades that are made to that kind of software are not only generally free, but cause no disruptions to your systems. There are several other reasons why your business should be keeping up with the latest software in its operations.
You might be surprised at how quickly software can add in and roll out new features and functionality. It isn’t only small changes such as rearranging the menus in the user interface or changing the efficiency of how you can navigate the application. Software companies are adding entirely new programming algorithms and features that make things possible that weren’t before. You may not know what it was like 20 years ago, but companies had to develop websites solely by hand. Time and resources were dedicated to writing large amounts of code, with the only available software being a platform to store the code. Today, you can build a website without knowing much about programming if you’re a small business owner. Software companies have created applications as simple as drag-and-drop for website development.
A lot of older software will have compatibility issues if it’s trying to be run on newer computers or mobile devices. Upgrading to more modern software that can run apps or websites on newer mobile devices and compatibility for different operating systems is a must. This will ensure your business isn’t alienating any portion of your customers. Sometimes new software versions can have bugs that cause crashes on individual devices. You can usually rollback those updates and wait for fixed releases to come out. It is a good idea to look at reviews for software versions. This will ensure that you’re not updating to versions that could be hard on available resources, or that don’t fit what you’re trying to do with your business. The vendor will also provide documentation on what the upgrade in versions provides.
There will usually be little time that your employees need to learn the software your company uses. Generally, the idea behind the newer software is to simplify what it does. It costs time and money to train employees in the use of software, and if upgrading software can shorten the time needed to do so, it’s worth the effort. One advantage of upgrading to cloud-based software is that you can have greater collaboration between employees that are working remotely. Should one employee need help editing certain documents or managing a project, some of the newer office software that’s out there allows you to do that.
As always, protecting your IT systems and securing data is a very important reason why your business should be keeping up with the latest software. Many breaches into big data systems come from hackers finding vulnerabilities in software; older software and operating systems are much easier to find loopholes in. That’s why it’s good to know which software updates fix security features and make sure you have them installed immediately. Cloud software is updated on its own, so by using that you’ll already be using the most secure version every time.
You want to make sure the software you’re thinking about upgrading to offers your business the most benefits and will prove to maximize your investment in it. You never want to get complacent using specific software just because you’ve been using it for years, or you think it will do what you want for years to come. Your competitors will quickly get in front of you by having newer, better software. You never want to fall behind them or put your company’s data at risk by not having up-to-date software.
For more information on which software you need to upgrade, or to find out other business owners’ experiences in upgrading software, make sure to check out our forums.
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Matthew King is the owner of the Startup Forums, Alkries LLC, and co-owner at TR King Insurance Marketing. Partner at Independent Life Insurance Agent Association, Medicare Training 101, and Final Expense 101. When he's not creating content about running successful businesses here. He's most likely developing processes, diving into SEO, or gaming with his friends and wife.
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