When You Have to Make Do With Legacy Tech

Greg Wheeler
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Updated versions of software programs and hardware often make it easier to stay productive, but the cost of upgrading old technology may be too much of a burden for some businesses. Migrating to new versions also disrupts operations and makes it harder for employees to do their jobs, so some companies choose to make do with legacy systems instead of upgrading. If you are still using a legacy system, you can deal with the use of old technology in the workplace in several ways.

Instead of replacing old technology completely, make do with inexpensive upgrades. This will help you use legacy systems to their fullest potential without exceeding your tech budget. Adding memory or replacing a hard drive is a low-cost way to keep old technology working as long as possible. For example, Alcoa uses a sixty-year-old piece of manufacturing equipment in one of its plants, but tech professionals keep the machine working by adding computerized controls and updating parts as needed. This is a good way to keep your business running until funds are available to upgrade old technology.

If users complain about using old office technology, you can recommend they use free tools and applications to increase productivity and efficiency. Several companies distribute open-source software programs for businesses. These programs make it easier to print documents, schedule business meetings, perform bookkeeping services, and manage large volumes of customer data. Free PDF Solutions recently released the no-cost Print to PDF program, which works with existing word processors. Using this type of program makes it possible to increase office productivity without completely upgrading old technology. If you recommend this approach, be ready with a list of approved open-source programs. You do not want users downloading unknown programs that will put your network at risk.

Enterprise content management is another way to keep using old technology without putting workers at a disadvantage. It is expensive to upgrade outdated office technology, but failing to comply with industry regulations or keep track of projects will also cost your company money. An ECM solution makes it easier for people to collaborate and gives managers the tools they need to manage compliance issues. Many ECM providers allow you to start small and grow your system when funds are available. Make sure you pick a provider based on your company's needs; the biggest provider is not always the best one to meet your business requirements.

One of the biggest challenges you'll face as a technology professional is staying within your departmental budget. Fortunately, it is possible to help employees increase their productivity without having to buy new systems. Upgrading system components, using free tools, and implementing an enterprise content management system are all good ways to use old technology without bringing operations to a halt. Talk with employees about their needs to determine which solutions will work best for your company.

(Photo courtesy of keerati / freedigitalphotos.net)


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