The Silver Bullet Misconception
Unfortunately, the latter sentence in the quote below is more prevalent. Buying new computers (sometimes referred to as “forklifting” or “refreshing”) will probably not solve your technology problems. Many companies with very modest hardware, very modest software; coupled with well thought-out needs can be very successful and very competitive in their industry. Involved owners, managers and principals can get involved and make prudent decisions on what the company really needs from technology and what it doesn’t need from technology (thus keeping distractions at bay; which can be equally as important) and put together a plan to do those thing right (and in the process have increased resources to do those needed things a little bit better).
The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” -Bill Gates
Having outdated equipment can be an Achilles’ heel but the more frequent (and less addressed) fundamental issue is what underlying processes are being carried out by these tools. Too many times things are done for the wrong reasons. There are almost always spill-over benefits to refreshing your business’ equipment to help rationalize the purchase but there is almost always lower hanging fruit in terms of return on investment than simply replacing antiquated hardware or software.
The difficult thing to relay with this is that yes, sometimes systems do get purchased on a budget and grow in an ad-hoc manner that sometimes cannot be avoided. But as a rule, this is an area where a blank check should not be submitted, to be involved in the processes that make your company competitive is critical, technology is now almost always involved but the technology is rarely a silver bullet that allows a guru with administrative privileges to install and application on everyone’s computer resulting in efficiency that will show on the bottom line later that same day.