How Often Should You Replace Existing Technology?


When to replace existing technology? It is a question that often gets avoided or ignored, leading to an overwhelming amount of tech that no longer gives your business the competitive advantage it needs. In today’s world, change is happening faster than ever. To adapt to changing conditions, you need to continuously evaluate when to update or replace the tech that enabled your initial advantage over your competition. 

What I have observed at medium to Fortune 500 size companies is that when they identify an opportunity where technology can give them an advantage, they typically go through an evaluation process of various technology solutions. This evaluation typically covers functionality, cost, timelines on implementation, and return on investment. Additionally, the company should evaluate the impact this will have over a specific period. 

Too often, I have seen the last part skipped over. This leads to future weakness in the company and, thus, opportunities for their competitors to capture some of their market share by not replacing technology. This loss in market share is because they did not re-evaluate that solution years later. Instead, they implemented a solution and got business value from it and assumed it was always going to continue giving them the same value. 

The business became dependent on that technology and as conditions changed, they may have made modifications and updates to the technology but never did a complete re-evaluation to see if this was the right technological solution for the next few years. Consistently modifying and updating solutions can cause technology that was an advantage, to now becoming a disadvantage or anchor, slowing down your innovation and adaptation. 

My recommendation is to set a specific timeline for every major technology solution that you put in place where you will come back and complete a new strategic assessment and evaluation to determine if it is something that you need to replace or modify. 

Most critical technology solutions take over a year to implement, and some take many years. To retain your competitive advantage, you must have a new or updated solution ready prior to the current solution becoming obsolete.  

Connect with us if you want to learn how UDig can help you evaluate your current solutions and build a technology roadmap for your software or data solutions.

Looking for a Software Rewrite Strategy? If you have decided you are ready to embark on the journey of rewriting your software, dig into this blog.

About The Author

Rob Phillips is UDig's Vice President, Software Engineering.