upgrading-office-technology|Photo Courtesy ofDepositphotos.comhttp://depositphotos.com/9023630/stock-photo-Old-computer.html?sqc=42With basic tools, the warning signs are obvious. When your stapler stops stapling, it’s time to upgrade. When it comes to computing equipment and software, however, it’s more challenging for small business owners to determine when a device is no longer useful, or when you’re in danger of falling behind your competitors.

Keeping up with technology is critical for small businesses. Being aware of trends in the marketplace and open to ideas from your peers and employees can help you make good technology decisions. In fact, employees are often among the first to discover new technologies that can be useful for your business.

Here are two common signs it’s time to upgrade your technology.

  1. Your employees are unable to work remotely: You decide to experiment by having a couple of employees work from home, but soon realize your existing system can’t handle it. Collaborating with vendors, contractors or other employees shouldn’t require physical proximity. For small businesses, virtual collaboration tools can be highly beneficial by helping to increase communication efficiency while also offering savings and convenience.
  2. Your infrastructure can’t support the best tools for your business: In some cases, a business needs a major computing upgrade, but often, it’s the small things that cause the most problems. Relying on a relatively slow DSL Internet connection, for example, will hamper your productivity, especially when it comes to using current online services. Running cloud-based programs that require a lot of bandwidth could crash the company’s entire system if their infrastructure is outdated.

A good way to find out about the latest apps or shortcuts is by talking with your colleagues and peers about the projects you’re working on. Through a simple conversation, you can learn about different solutions, and hopefully find the ideal tool for your situation.

So if your current technology prevents you from working and collaborating remotely or makes it difficult to use new tools, it’s time for an upgrade. Being aware of trends in the marketplace and open to ideas from peers and employees can all help you make the best technology decisions for your business.

How does your business keep up with the latest technology trends? How do you know when it’s time to upgrade your technology? Share your comments below!