Regardless of the type of business, you’re trying to run or even the industry that you’re operating in, software is more important than ever. According to a study conducted by Forrester Research, a total of $542 billion was spent in the United States on software development in 2013 – representing a colossal 25% of the country’s total IT spend. Likewise, those numbers themselves continue to grow – the IDC has estimated that the worldwide information technology market will reach a value of $2.461 trillion by as soon as 2019.
At the same time, it’s important to understand that “investing in software” and “utilizing your software in the right way” are two entirely different concepts and should always be treated as such. According to Caper Jones, software productivity rates in the United States remained entirely unchanged between 1988 and 2008 – meaning that people were putting more money into software hoping for a “magic bullet” and were getting less back in return.
Luckily, these are complex problems with relatively straightforward solutions. The key to getting the most from your investment involves recognizing the five primary ways that your software could be costing you money.
Your Software Can’t Keep Up With Data Creation
In the modern era, one of the most important jobs that a piece of software has involved helping you and your team make sense of the huge volumes of data that are being created. According to Forbes, there will be about 1.7 new megabytes of data created for every person on the planet every second. If your software isn’t in a position to support not only the creation and collation of that data, it’s delaying your ability to process it and learn from it. This, in turn, is putting you farther away from the actionable insights that data was supposed to bring you in the first place, thus costing you money.
Your Data is Siloed
Along the same lines is the unfortunate problem of siloed data. This is especially pressing for larger organizations that need to be able to quickly share information between many different departments, frequently spread out over large geographic spaces. If your software doesn’t instantly allow someone in your sales team to work with someone in marketing (or any other department) and get everyone on the same page at the same time, you’re losing money – end of story.
You Can’t Automate the Processes You Need
Automation is only going to become more important as time goes on, particularly as more and more positions within your organization depend on digital resources to get work done each day. If your software doesn’t support the automation of manual and protracted processes (like data management or records consolidating, for just two examples), your employees are spending too much time on menial tasks when they could be focusing their efforts on moving your business forward.
Your Software Is Out-of-Date, Part I
One of the leading contributors to organizational software inefficiency is maintaining legacy systems long beyond their expiration date or failing to upgrade when changes within your organization dictate you do so. Not only can making regular investments in new software help reduce your operating costs by improving efficiency, but they also allow you to take advantage of new technologies that are emerging at a lightning pace. Staying ahead of the curve isn’t something that you can do once and then forget about. To truly maintain the type of competitive advantage you need, you must be proactive about your software.
Your Software Is Out-of-Date, Part II
There is another hugely important reason why out-of-date systems could be costing your organization money; only this one has nothing to do with productivity. It all comes down to a single word: security. Simply put, out-of-date systems also lack the protection necessary to ward off the latest and greatest cyber threats. Every piece of out-of-date software or another tech in your infrastructure is a potential vulnerability just waiting to be taken advantage of by someone who knows what they’re doing.
Case in point: according to a study conducted by the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach in 2016 was an astounding $4 million. For every single record that was lost, stolen or compromised during a breach, an organization incurred about $158 worth of damages. Is this the type of money your organization can afford to lose?
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that there is no “one size fits all” approach to enterprise software development. Every organization is a little bit different from the next, meaning that often custom solutions to complex problems will be needed not just to support the way your employees like to work, but to allow them to work smarter, not harder.
As technology continues to advance, it’s always important to consider your current software on a regular basis, making sure that your IT investment is still properly aligned with your long-term goals as a business. One of the keys to unlocking the productivity and collaborative benefits that your IT infrastructure has to offer involves recognizing if upgrades or custom solutions are necessary as fast as you can, allowing you to act on that information just as quickly.