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Mistake #4: Overextending the Technology Lifecycle

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This one actually ties in quite nicely to Mistake #3 (Going Cheap), although it may be the chicken and the egg syndrome - not sure which comes first.  Are you going cheap because you're overextending the lifecycle of your technology or are you overextending the lifecycle of your technology because you're going cheap?  Because many businesses tend to "go cheap", their first inclination is the old adage, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".  With technology this actually turns out be a more costly approach.

I'm big on analogies and I think all too often too many people think that technology is like operating a car.  If you're driving along and it stops working, you simply pull over to the side of the road like you ran out of gas.  No big deal.  But really, technology is actually more like flying an airplane.  You simply can't afford to run out of gas - it's life threatening.  While I get that server crashes, data breeches, and downtime certainly aren't exactly life threatening situations (for the most part), they could actually be very threatening to the life of one's business.  It's been said that 50% of businesses who suffer a significant data loss are out of business within a year.

Way too often we've seen clients pushing the envelope on how long they keep technology in production (see my blog post on the Really, Really story).  These are usually NOT the Best in Class performers in their industries.  There's a reason why Dell  warranties servers for only 3 years out of the chute.  They know their own failure rates.  Beyond the cost of dealing with picking up the pieces after a crisis, most of these companies don't realize (or want to even consider) the performance gains by replacing 3 and 4 year old equipment.  Because technology continues to improve exponentially, 3 to 4 years is an eternity in performance gains.  Just because something's "still working" doesn't necessarily mean it's as effective or productive as it could be - which actually decreases staff productivity.  Increasing the performance of a staff member by 5% by upgrading their workstation can bring about a 200% return on investment in a year.  Unfortunately, most business owners don't factor the hidden costs into the equation as much as they should.

The most effective businesses leveraging technology these days ALWAYS have a proactive approach to their technology.  And overextending the technology lifecycle is NOT a proactive approach.  Like I said, you can view technology as though it's like a car or like a plane.  It's your choice.  Just make sure you pack a big enough parachute if you choose to fly.


There you have it. While I added an extra one, the first six should be enough for you to ensure you’re not being taken for a ride.
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When it first came out, the iPad had everyone stumped - at least from a business perspective. How can we use this great new technology in a real and meaningful way? One of the great attributes of the iPad is it's ability to present integrated information in a great, new way. What I mean by "integrated" is that all types of media (ie: text, images, and video) can be accessed all from the same venue.
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Ok. So I know we're pretty much past the point where people are fighting the need to use computers (although, can you say "dial up"?). But there are still many businesses who look at technology as a necessary evil - "I guess we have to use computers. But, darned if I'm going to upgrade my fine Windows 98 machines!"
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Before you ask yourself - Do I have an "IT guy" or a "Trusted Advisor"? - first you have to ask yourself, "do I care?" If you don't, then there's no doubt that you have an "IT guy". Regardless of what he's capable of, if that's all that you're ever going to see him delivering, then that's all he's ever going to be. If you do care, then even before you ask yourself what you have, you have to consider what you want.
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Where I was going with this is - it's ok in almost every business owner's eyes to spend $200 - $400 a month on health insurance per employee, but spending even 1/2 of this to make sure THE most important tool EVERY one of their employee uses EVERY day to ensure up-time and consistent productivity is too much to ask.
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About the Author
Craig Pollack
Craig Pollack Blog Profile Image Craig is the Founder & CEO of FPA Technology Services, Inc. Craig provides the strategy and direction for FPA, ensuring its clients, their business owners, and key decision makers leverage technology most effectively to achieve their business objectives. Craig focuses on ensuring that the technologies implemented by clients are "business centric" and key components of their businesses' success, and that this approach is shared by every staff member of FPA.
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