Businesses are finding it challenging to move into the 21st century while still relying on older technology to get their work done. However, making the move from inter-office email and in-house servers to new outsourced systems with greater reliability and redundancy is beneficial in that it’ll give you more uptime and perform better overall.

This makes great sense today when companies are spending about $3.5 trillion combined yearly to integrate tech systems without creating much stress or many disruptions. However, there’s a challenge here as well: Knowing where to add and upgrade your technology. Here’s a little help to get you started though.

1.Start with integration in mind

Forbes says there are many arguments about whether businesses should upgrade their software systems. Regardless of what side of the “issue” you’re on, there’s one great attribute that’s found in all these systems today: This is their ability to integrate and connect to other applications that your business uses. By being able to connect your newest technology to other apps you stand to gain a whole lot more advantages than if you were to simply upgrade a legacy system. In fact, you’ll find that this is something that can benefit your whole business.

2.Automate your business

As businesses upgrade their technological systems, many of them are also thinking about how they can migrate to the cloud. They feel that this is important when it comes to being able to get the most out of their upgrade. However, there’s an even more important consideration to be made here: By spending some time automating both your business’ manual and its repetitive tasks your business will be much farther ahead of the game than much of its competition is.

3. Go for cloud software

Migrating to cloud software like a cloud-based phone system is the only thing that really makes sense for small and medium-sized companies. This is because it’s a great way to reduce your company’s maintenance costs while increasing your employees’ ability to access the tools they need for jobs like enterprise resource planning, accounting, inventory management, and e-commerce. Many businesses have found that a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution is a good option when it comes to finding help for managing all their company’s needs.

4. Security is the key

In today’s technology-dependent world, a lack of security has become a real problem. In the past, many businesses simply thought of security as something that was “nice to have,” but something that they could add later when they really needed it.

Unfortunately, many of these same businesses have learned the hard way that this isn’t true. They’ve learned that security is something that they must design into every technology and application they use or add to their business. It’s not something that they can leave out in hopes of reducing costs and saving money.

5.Opt for software as a service (SaaS) software

SaaS software offers a great alternative for businesses who are trying to find a way around standard software installation options. There are many reasons for this – chief among them is the fact that SaaS software is usually available for less money. However, the fact that it’s also immediately ready for use is great in the sense that this allows you to have quick proof of concept operations.

As an additional benefit here, SaaS solutions are typically located in a cloud environment, which means you’ll be able to easily scale it and integrate it with other SaaS offerings of your choosing. Of course, anything that’s found in the cloud is also easier to upgrade and typically this is less expensive to do too.

6.Focus on task over tech

As a good, solid rule of thumb, you should never just grab hold of and implement the latest software in your business just because you see everyone else doing it so you think you should do it too. Instead, you should take some time to consider how you can fix a process that you’re currently struggling with. Simply installing the latest, greatest technology won’t necessarily do this for you.

Instead, you may simply be putting a band-aid on your problems. A great example of this is Slack. While there are many businesses who love it, there are also many businesses who install it just because they feel they have to in order to keep up with other businesses. While this tool is great for diverse remote workers, if you don’t need constant communication, you’re better off installing a process management system instead of this type of asynchronous chat.

7. Choose centralized CRM applications

Many businesses rely on their inter-office email as though it were a crutch. This enables employees to become too reliant on it for information. On the other end of the spectrum, help-desk applications and centralized CRM applications provide employees with information about clients and other issues that require their attention.

By allowing your employees to communicate with one another through a CRM like Copper with G-Suite integration, it’s also easier for them to search through all your real-time information so they’re always up-to-date – something that’s especially important when dealing with customers.

8. Fix only the bottlenecks

Before upgrading your technology, you should find out where the real bottlenecks in your processes are so you can fix them. Sometimes this will require you to implement new technology, but at other times it won’t. By focusing on the barriers that are preventing your business from growing then spending your time and energy implementing adequate solutions to fix them, you can’t go wrong.

9. Use agnostic content

Companies that are responsible for managing large amounts of data often find themselves using proprietary systems that don’t allow employees to communicate with each other. This is one reason why they should be using a single database as a service (DBaaS) instead. Other reasons is it requires less training, provides easy access, costs less money, and can be used anywhere.

10. Check out your current vendor first

Start by checking with your current vendor, especially if you’re happy with them. More than likely they’ll have a cloud-based option to which you can easily upgrade.

Being a senior business associate, Peter Davidson strives to help different brands and startups to make effective business decisions and plan effective business strategies. With years of rich domain expertise, he loves to share his views on the latest technologies and applications through his well-researched content pieces. Follow him on Google+ and Twitter.

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