Businesses today are increasingly reliant on information technology. As a result, planning for future technology needs is a key component of successfully operating a modern SMB. The more comprehensive your plans are for the future, the more prepared you will be to implement them effectively when the time comes. Here are three tips you should keep in mind when planning out your future investments in IT services and infrastructure.
Plan for obsolescence
Because of the rate at which technology develops in the modern era, obsolescence is a constant factor in planning your future technology strategy. Using legacy systems can lead to higher maintenance costs, lower productivity and a decreased capacity for future growth. In fact, lost productivity from outdated hardware alone is estimated to cost American businesses $1.8 trillion every year.
If you are to remain current in the technological field, you need to not only update your current systems but also anticipate the eventual obsolescence of the hardware and software you’re buying today. Hardware is especially important to have a plan for since its effective life can often be extended through regular upgrades. Software, by comparison, tends to become obsolete all at once when vendors no longer choose to support and update it.
Pursue IT consolidation
When planning for your future technology needs, it’s important to consider cleaning up and streamlining your existing IT infrastructure. IT consolidation is a process by which redundant systems are merged together and simplified. By merging systems together, you can reduce your IT costs, streamline your support tasks and increase the overall productivity of your business.
One of the most effective methods of IT consolidation involves migrating existing services to the cloud. By leveraging cloud services, your business can grow without the need to buy more hardware. The scaling capability of cloud solutions also makes it easier to effectively plan for future growth. Cloud-based solutions are becoming increasingly popular among SMBs, with approximately 71 percent planning to increase their investment in cloud technologies in the coming year.
Follow current trends to anticipate future technology needs
Planning for future technology investments requires a certain amount of foresight. The best way to anticipate what the future IT landscape will look like is to follow trends as they emerge and consider how they may be applicable to your business model.
In particular, it’s important to keep an eye on emerging trends that are producing measurable and consistent benefits for the businesses that implement them. Machine learning is a good example, as 45 percent of businesses using this technology report seeing better insights from their data as a result. Likewise, virtual desktop infrastructure is a trend worth watching. VDI technology is projected to show growth of 16.5 percent annually through 2023, most of which is expected to be driven by SMB investment.
Other information technology trends that may be worth following in the near future include:
- Augmented reality
- Data as a service
- Edge computing
- AI-powered chatbots
- Improvements in network security
By keeping these tips in mind, you can create a plan for future technology investment that will help your business grow smoothly and keep your IT costs low through the use of the latest technologies. Putting a plan together now will help save your business time, trouble and money as the technological landscape changes over the coming years.