In today's fast-paced world, efficiency is everything. Bigger, better, faster - that's what everyone, small businesses in Singapore included, seems to be chasing. Technology has, of course, allowed us to get more done in our day-to-day lives. However, technology at many small businesses today remains stuck in the past. For example, more than 446,000 PCs in Singapore are still running on Windows XP, even though 8 April is the last day of support for the 12-year-old operating system! Similarly, Office 2003 lacks modern productivity features found in Office 365, and will also see support end on the same day.
The result? Less efficiency, unsatisfied customers, an inability to compete and, perhaps worst of all, lost money. In order to remain competitive, small businesses in Singapore should look to upgrade to Windows 8.1 and Office 365.
We live in a new world of work, and there's a big gap in performance between small businesses that embrace new technology and the ones that don't. Small businesses using outdated technology are actually at risk of being left behind: Research by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that IT-enabled SMEs in Singapore, which BCG refers to as "technology leaders," grew revenues 15% faster and created twice as many jobs than SMEs that use less technology.
A recent study by Techaisle, a global SMB and channel partner analyst and research organization, found that businesses using outdated technology on just three PCs spend an average of US$1,683 a year on maintenance and upgrade costs above and beyond an up-to-date PC, and that an average of 42 hours of productivity is lost per employee, per year, due to older PCs needing repairs.
Technology has evolved rapidly over the past several years - hardware is cheaper, operating systems are faster, cell phones are smarter, cloud services are affordable and workforces are mobile. Small businesses using old technologies are missing an opportunity - from better protecting their data and reputation, to being able to acquire and serve customers better. The good news is that upgrading to newer technology has never been easier.
With support for Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003 ending as of April 8, 2014, small businesses in Singapore should look to upgrade their systems now. For tech-savvy and non-tech-savvy businesses alike, upgrading is easy - provided they know where to turn for help. Here are two clear and simple ways to upgrade:
1. Find a technology partner
A partner, also referred to as an IT consultant or IT provider, can offer a tremendous amount of support to small businesses that need help deciding which device and software combination will best meet their needs. In many cases, a partner will also help businesses set up their new technologies and even train employees on the software tools.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.