When Do You Upgrade Your Office Technology?

Jumping at the newest office technology isn't always the best strategy – but neither is sticking with old faithful.

If your office has become reliant on unreliable technology, it may be time for an upgrade.

Jumping at the newest office technology isn’t always the best strategy – but neither is sticking with old faithful.

It takes five minutes to turn on your computer, you can’t open files because your software is outdated and your cellphone doesn’t synchronize with your email. Is it time to bite the bullet and upgrade? As much as you may complain about your office technology, you’ve got to understand it before you can fix it: what exactly needs updating, and what’s the best way to go about it? For answers, we spoke to the experts: Michael McCarthy, vice-president of small and medium business at Telus Corp.; Robert Lewis, president and editor of Techvibes​.com; and Scott Overhill, vice-president of product management at Procura, a software provider.

Talk to the experts

A professional will be able to tell you when an upgrade is most beneficial and what products work. “Talk to the experts that have all of those technologies available,” advises McCarthy. “They will tell you what’s out there, give their advice based on what you want to achieve and then map that with your technology.”

Check dependency

Look at your office workers and ask whether they have become reliant on technology that is no longer reliable. “What businesses need to do is look back on that technology and say, if my technology were to fail, what would the impact be on my business?” McCarthy explains. If your workers and your customers depend on a technology that is old or likely to fail, it’s essential that it’s kept up to date.


Clean up

“When your computer starts incurring maintenance costs, from clutter on the hard drive and that kind of thing, it’s a good time to wipe them and clean them up,” says Overhill, who suggests doing this approximately every two years. Not only should the computers be upgraded, but old files should be cleaned up too. Having too much computer memory used up by old, useless files will cause them to slow down.


Don’t jump the gun

Don’t go for brand-new technology; wait for it to be perfected and to drop in price. “The half-life for server components is usually about six months, so we typically wait for as long as possible,” Overhill says. “The longer you wait, the less expensive the acquisitions are and the more power you get for your money.” 


Use Freeware

“I’m a big fan of using online tools whenever possible,” says Lewis. “We use Gmail for our email, and as a result we don’t spend any time upgrading that software. That way we have software that is constantly being upgraded by itself.” Using online technology can greatly decrease the costs involved with running the computers while also making upgrades automatic.