How to Know When You've Outgrown Your Software

Your staff depends on all kinds of software to keep your business running day after day. Perhaps when you installed it, that software was the top of the line. Eventually, however, software begins to fall behind what your competitors are using, or slow down your productivity. Outdated systems can cost you time, employee frustration, and money.

However, software and other technical assets don’t come with an expiration date. They decline in usefulness gradually. It’s easy to stick with the familiar and keep muddling through, perhaps not even noticing how much things have slowed down. You might patch together multiple programs and create copies of the same data in different places. One day, however, you can no longer ignore the problem. Here’s how you know when that day is here.


You Spend a Lot of Time Getting Software to Work

Your time and your employees’ time is valuable. A simple task shouldn’t take almost the whole business day because your employees have to keep re-entering data. If your software is causing your employees to type things manually, you risk winding up with inaccurate information. This could lead to costly mistakes like products shipping to the wrong place. At the least, it will cost someone’s time to later correct the mistakes.


Your Business is Growing

If your company is expanding and adding more employees, your needs change. Perhaps you invested in a limited number of licenses for your SaaS. Maybe you use a program that allows only one or a few people to be logged in at once. Tracking workflows becomes more important as you grow, too. While two or three people can catch each other up on project statuses in a morning meeting, it’s much harder for a global team to keep in close contact. You need software that lets people communicate effectively. Generally speaking, with more people, you’re moving faster and so should your systems.


The Software Doesn’t All Work Together

All of your computer systems must work together. See if this sounds familiar: You create a list of leads in Excel, which then gets uploaded to your sales database. Individual salespeople download their own lists. They make changes locally, on their own devices, because they can’t access the database from the field. Meanwhile, someone else makes changes to the original Excel spreadsheet. Pretty soon, you have three different versions of the same data. If you have pieced together solutions from different sources, or if you have upgraded some platforms and not others, you lose functionality and productivity. A newer solution could provide a more seamless experience.


Your Software Isn’t Mobile or Cloud Compatible

Technological advancements mean your employees don’t have to work from their desks. Many companies are transitioning to cloud-based workplaces and are making the office much more mobile-friendly. If you find that your software doesn’t allow for your employees to work from home or on the go, you’re missing out on ways to grow your business.


Your Employees Complain About the Software

As a leader, you need to listen to your employees. If you continuously hear valid complaints about the software, about its poor performance or how they have to re-enter data, it may be time to act. The people who use the software the most know what they need from it. Heed their concerns when it comes to deciding whether to upgrade.


Your Software Doesn’t Update Because of Age

Software updates make sure your software continues to perform and stays secure. You may find updates annoying, but they serve a useful purpose. When your software ages to a certain point, the manufacturer may cease to release updates. When your software can’t update, you lose out on improvements and risk a security breach.


Your Software Causes Near Misses with Deadlines

You set deadlines for a reason. No one wants to miss a deadline, but if your software’s performance is less than desirable, it could cause delays. These could prove catastrophic for you, your employees, and the clients who expect things on time. If you find that tasks are too close for comfort with deadlines because the software isn’t cutting you any slack, it’s time to think about how new software could benefit you and your employees.

Your software doesn’t have to be always working against you, especially when it’s designed to make your life easier. Most of the time, upgrading your software is a good thing, especially if it means your business is growing. Find software that works well for you and your employees and see how much easier your work life becomes.