How upgrading and maintaining software can improve productivity

Outdated software is slow, risky, and frustrating. Upgrading and maintaining software can save time and money—and take your customer service to a new level.

By Leighton Jacobs

Last updated May 15, 2023

We all know that we should keep our apps and devices up to date. From adding features to fixing problems, updates help ensure that everything works as it should. Yet many businesses put off updating their software, often sticking with old systems until they fail.

There are many reasons for this, including cost, time, fear of change, and that old chestnut: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Perhaps that explains why a staggering 95 per cent of websites are still running on outdated software according to a research study.

And even though it might seem like your business is doing just fine running the same old software, you could be exposing it to serious risks whilst also harming your productivity. So, let’s explore what you stand to lose by not upgrading—but more importantly, what you could gain if you decide to click update.

Understand your pain points

There are a few common pain points all businesses face when failing to maintain their software. And they can all impact productivity. Let’s dive right in.

Security risks

Hackers exploit flaws in outdated software to gain entry into company infrastructure. And failing to update your software is a lot like leaving your front door open. Sure, you might be okay for a while but it’s only a matter of time before someone gets in. In short, not upgrading leaves you vulnerable to attack.

What’s more, vulnerabilities are like a ticking time bomb—an expensive one. According to a recent Kaspersky report, companies running outdated technology are likely to lose 47 per cent more money when they suffer a data breach compared to those who regularly update their systems. Another great reason to make sure everything is fully up to date.

Frustrated staff

Slow systems are infuriating, but they’re also incredibly inefficient. Software issues like bugs can cause workflows to lag and productivity to dip. This has a knock-on effect on profits, as your employees need more time to complete everyday tasks and often have to waste time helping each other resolve issues.

And it’s not just about waiting for things to load. An IDC white paper revealed that the average IT professional spends a whopping 4.5 hours a week looking for documents. That’s a huge amount of time that could be better spent on more important tasks. Not only does this reduce staff productivity but it can also impact employee retention. After all, nobody wants to spend their day battling IT problems.

Outdated software can be a big source of stress. And stressed teams often resort to shortcuts and workarounds to get jobs done. Approved processes and workflows quickly go out of the window when software fails to function properly, which increases the chances of things going wrong, e.g. orders not being recorded correctly.

Downtime and failure

Crashes and downtime are far more than just technical hitches. Statista reports that downtime costs the average company a staggering £300,000 per hour—that’s £5,000 per minute. What’s more, when outdated systems fail, you’re more likely to lose more of your data.

Not only that but downtime can affect both employee productivity and customer retention. After all, customers don’t tend to stay with a company that continuously lets them down. And lost customers can quickly snowball into reputational damage. Competitors running up-to-date systems will also find it easier to poach your customers away. Reliability and maximum uptime are therefore vital to business success.

Compatibility issues

Compatibility problems are a serious challenge for businesses of all sizes. Incompatibility means two things: major headaches and big invoices. Major headaches like disastrous data silos and bottlenecks but also downtime and even system failure. Outdated software also limits your options when it comes to integrating other solutions as many will require you to be running the latest software.

Even worse, compatibility issues with your clients and suppliers can put people off working with you—and you might never realise it. Plus, running old software means you’re also running a much higher risk of non-compliance with legal and regulatory standards.

Increased maintenance costs

Keeping old software going is a lot like driving an old car—it takes a lot of time, effort, and money. Both are more prone to issues and therefore need considerably more maintenance to ensure everything is in fine fettle. You’re also likely to have a harder time finding the right people to service outdated software and emergency fixes can be expensive.

And even if your pockets are deep enough, your employees are still likely to experience more IT issues than businesses running fully up-to-date software. This not only means higher costs but also lost revenue as employees can’t work properly if they’re waiting for things to be fixed.

Environmental impact

Climate change is now the biggest challenge of our times, and every business needs to be mindful of its environmental footprint. Outdated software is typically far less energy efficient, which not only increases your expenses but also reflects badly on your brand.

Older software often also lacks the tools you need to understand environmental impact and see where you can reduce waste, e.g. by going paperless. Corporate sustainability is the name of the game and that becomes a whole lot easier with fully up-to-date software.

Find your gain points

Let’s switch focus now and look at why installing and maintaining software is one of the best ways to improve productivity in the workplace.

Streamline communication

Keeping your software and systems up to date ensures that everyone can communicate quickly and securely. Seamless communication helps all aspects of your business from finance to customer communication and inventory.

And one of the best ways to achieve this is by going completely paperless. This can be a daunting step but digitising your data can boost both efficiency and productivity by giving employees the tools they need to work efficiently—from anywhere.

Minimise mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes but errors can be costly in businesses. Fortunately, the latest software often has plenty of tools to reduce the need for manual data entry and make it easy to keep track of everything, so nothing slips through the cracks.

Plus, up-to-date software allows employees to access the information they need quickly without switching between applications. And the latest integrations make it easy to find contact details, send invoices, and respond to customer queries—often automatically.

Leverage automation

Put simply, automating tasks helps reduce costs and boost productivity. You can use automation tools to create custom workflows that save time and improve accuracy by eliminating the need for manual input, e.g. email templates and automatic reminders.

With up-to-date software, you can also automatically collect and analyse data. Automated decision-making can even eliminate the need for human involvement in certain areas, e.g. stocking items based on sales. This naturally saves businesses both time and money.

Optimise resources

Up-to-date software typically syncs in real-time, keeping everyone in the loop and on task. Time spent on admin and data entry is better used in other areas, e.g. handling complex customer queries and providing exceptional customer service.

The latest software is also great at monitoring productivity and tracking performance. Easy access to real-time performance data can provide insights into onboarding weak points, training needs, and star performers. Plus, it’s a great way to motivate teams.

Elevate your employee experience

Fully up-to-date software gives employees the tools they need to do their jobs effectively. This naturally includes automation tools, which simplify time-consuming tasks like manual file retrieval or data entry. This frees up time for teams to focus on more important tasks.

Software also tends to become more intuitive and user-friendly over time, making it easier for employees to get up to speed. What’s more, newer software usually makes it quicker to access information, which helps employees make more informed decisions.

Improve your customer experience

Everything we’ve already mentioned also helps improve customer service, which as we all know is a critical part of any business. Just a small improvement in customer service can lead to a big jump in sales and customer satisfaction, so getting it right is a must.

Automating customer service tasks and giving employees the right tools and information are vital. After all, it’s much easier for agents to provide world-class customer service when they have customer data at hand and can interact seamlessly with customers over multiple channels—all thanks to the perfect up-to-date solution.

Zendesk takes game point

Software has become critical to how many businesses operate. And even though it might seem like a hassle, taking the time to upgrade and maintain your software is essential to success. Because the right, up-to-date software boosts productivity, reduces costs, and preserves your competitive edge.

Zendesk helps you be more productive by tracking customer interactions and automating tasks, which can free up employees’ time to focus on what really matters—delivering exceptional customer service.

Our powerful solutions are intuitive, work right out of the box, and can even update themselves. Come over to the productive side with Zendesk.

How to deliver customer service in a rapidly changing world

In association with MyCustomer, Europe’s leading online resource for customer-focused professionals.

How to deliver customer service in a rapidly changing world

In association with MyCustomer, Europe’s leading online resource for customer-focused professionals.

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