If you haven’t had a tech update in a few years, you’re probably overdue. It’s almost always a great idea to invest in new technologies that will significantly boost the productivity and growth of your business. Even if it’s the best decision you’ve ever made, you’ll still need to make some important considerations before you hit the ground running.
New technology is going to change a lot of things. You can’t just jump in with both feet and expect such a huge new development to go over without a hitch. Before you go on a spending spree, make sure you have all of your affairs in order with your employees, strategies, and plans.
#1. What Will You Do With Your Old Tech?
Unless you plan on stuffing a giant storeroom with all your outdated computers, printers, routers, etc., you need to have a plan for the proper removal or disposal of your old technology. There are multiple strategies – reselling it, donating it, recycling it, or destroying it. All the above may require the assistance of a professional.
If you want to resell (or donate) your old tech, there are plenty of people who would love to take it. Local libraries, daycare centers, and educational programs often take older computers that are still in working order. You just need to make sure you aren’t giving away a wealth of confidential information in the process.
Your IT professionals should be able to safely wipe any trace of information from the hard drives of those computers before you put them out into the world. Data getting into the wrong hands can be dangerous, and it needs to be completely eliminated as a possibility if anyone else can lay a finger on that tech.
Your other options are destroying or recycling the old tech. Your IT professional will be able to tell you what (if anything) is recyclable. Anything that cannot be recycled should be properly wiped and destroyed to prevent people from attempting to access data stored on old machines.
#2. How Will Training Change?
Your employees likely have everything figured out down to the letter. They know how to use your current tech, and many of them have been using it for years. There may have been small updates along the way, but since things were mostly the same, it was easy for them to bring themselves up to speed. If all your tech is new, you’re starting from the ground up.
It’s time to get back to the training room. Get the whole team together for long term training sessions. You might want to pepper in some fun team-building exercises to break up the monotony and wealth of information that comes with learning an entirely new system – it will keep your employees from feeling burned out or overwhelmed at the amount of new information they have to process.
Don’t be surprised if it takes a few weeks for everyone to become fully confident with the new tech. If your new technology comes with extended support or help features, you may want to opt-in. You’ll need it until everyone starts to master the system.
#3. What About New Cybersecurity and Disaster Strategies?
Every company needs an ironclad cybersecurity strategy and a disaster recovery strategy. These both hinge on the tech you’re using, and if your tech has changed, your strategies should follow suit.
Cybersecurity is always evolving – there are always new threats emerging, and experts work hard to counter those threats. Sometimes, old tech simply isn’t safe to use. It can’t comply with new security measures and its inherent vulnerabilities leave it open to attack. Replacing old tech with newer, more advanced tech often comes with the added benefit of a safer connection to the internet.
Your employees and on-site tech staff will need to familiarize themselves with safer practices and new features that come with your new technology. It’s a good time to review password policies and protocol for opening email attachments – you don’t want a slip up on the first day to jeopardize your new technology before it’s even had a chance to warm up.
The second strategy you’ll need to create is a disaster strategy. Your old recovery strategy was based on the tech and backups you currently have. Things will be different with your new tech. How will you back up that information? Where will you store new off-site backups? What security features and measures will you put in place to identify data threats or stop attacks? What will you do if information becomes compromised? Get this strategy together before your employees even have a chance to use your new tech.
#4. Is This Technology Really Worthwhile?
Don’t invest in gimmicky technology – especially if it won’t really do much at the end of the day. When smartwatches first hit the scene, many tech-focused companies have introduced them to the office. Everyone had a smartwatch, and it was great for a while, but at the end of the day, how many smartwatches do you see in work environments? They’re convenient devices, but they ultimately didn’t do much to change the way people worked.
Before you invest in new technology, make sure you actually need it. You may need proprietary software or apps to accomplish what you’re trying to accomplish – the tech alone may not be enough. Get as much advice and information as possible before making any major changes.
#5. How Will the Transition Work?
You can’t take your whole system offline for a day or two. Instead, you’ll need a strategy to smoothly transition from the old tech to new tech. Try to plan accordingly. You might want training starting after hours or before work, long before the new tech is brought into the office. You want your employees to be able to go from one system to the next with as few errors as possible. Start by letting your more tech-savvy employees have regular access to new tech, and slowly introduce it to people who need a little more time to learn.
Remember not to rush into anything. Time, planning, and calculated decision-making will help your team thrive with new technology in the workplace. Cover all your bases before you spend your whole budget on shiny new tech – even if it takes a little while to upgrade.