In some circles, owning older or "retro" hardware is a delight. An old automobile, for example, can class up any environment.

But in the software and technology world, retro is the last thing you want. Owning and using legacy hardware or software is never something to be proud of — especially if you’re interested in efficiency and security.

Worse yet, if you fail to streamline the update process and largely avoid high-performance and bleeding-edge gear, you’ll be overrun by the competition in no time.

Software and hardware modernization is definitely time-consuming, resource-intensive and expensive, but it’s a necessary element of working in enterprise and for giving you the best opportunities to work with and act on your data.

During a study regarding modernization, 42 percent of respondents indicated they believe the most influential team member in IT modernization is the CIO, while 41 percent believe it lies with the CEO. Despite this, 62 percent indicated their team is “severely under-resourced,” and the study also revealed that many organizations have yet to modernize their IT and technology departments.

It starts with the higher-ups, sure, but the problem starts with getting them onboard.

1. Explain: The Landscape Will Never Be the Same Again

We live in a different world today — one that’s focused on digital and virtual experiences. This is largely thanks to the birth of mobile devices and their widespread adoption. People are now connected nearly 24/7 no matter where they are or what they’re doing.

Furthermore, people expect streamlined experiences now more than ever: 830 million youth, representing over 80 percent of the younger populations across 104 countries, are now online. And that’s just the younger generations, which is just one section of the entire internet audience.

This shift has put an increasing demand on market digitization. Companies must now deploy advanced and modern IT solutions and support to deliver online customer experiences, new technologies like cloud-based computing, big data solutions and much more.

In the past, it was manageable to adopt an incremental approach to IT and system modernization. There really wasn’t a strong need to have everything bleeding-edge or up-to-date. Today, if you’re not keeping up with new advancements, you’ve already fallen behind.

Performance, customer experiences and innovative offerings are definitely important, but security is a huge concern, too. Data breaches and cyberattacks are rampant, as is the misuse of customer and organization owned data. Staying up-to-date with the latest software releases, security and bug fixes and patches, means you’re more secure than a legacy platform or system would be.

Technology like this is so impactful already that by 2018, over 50 percent of organizations will have redirected their investments to focus on customer experience innovations. Guess what efforts like these rely on? The modernization of hardware and software to deliver those experiences. That explains why 87 percent of customers believe brands need to put more effort into providing a consistent and seamless experience.

The first case for getting executives and higher-ups onboard with modernization is to simply point this out.

2. Show: Reveal the Benefits

The next step is to reveal the benefits of adopting a streamlined modernization approach. Some of the things you can expect to see from bleeding-edge hardware and software are:

  • Increased report and analytics accuracy.
  • Beefed up security and more manageable authentication processes.
  • Widespread accessibility and cross-platform support.
  • Improved project management, especially across larger-scope tasks.
  • Cost savings, especially from the elimination of internal maintenance and hosting/serving.
  • More manageable teams and departments — you don’t need a large internal IT team.
  • An effective approach to BYOD solutions.

There are benefits even for unrelated industries, too. For example, the modernization in construction, design and manufacturing processes is already making field service operations more efficient. Even if you’re outside the IT niche as a whole, don’t make the mistake of thinking this critical approach has no use to you or your enterprise.

3. Debate: Point Out Current Failings

You don’t want to absolutely shred existing processes and procedures here, especially since many of them were likely thought up and deployed by the executives you’ll be presenting to.

But you definitely want to bring to light many of the current or recent failings and how they directly relate to existing processes.

In other words, you need to make a good case for why the current setup isn’t working and why resources and investments should go into updating those components. Whether it’s hardware, software or even workers, you want to show why and how modernization can improve overall efficiency.

4. Comfort: Modernization Benefits Everyone

Security is a great point on its own. But as technology advances and as systems become more capable and accessible, the vulnerabilities become more numerous.

Along with that comes modern legislation and consumer protections designed to deal with and facilitate these new channels. Because the landscape is changing and constantly evolving, so is everything else — including the consequences for not meeting the needs of your customers or audience.

A data breach, for instance, can lead to serious financial ruin. It can even lead to legal ramifications. Yahoo! is currently facing litigation for two breaches — one that occurred in 2013 and another in 2014.

It seems disconnected to lump modernization in as a solution to these issues, but in reality, it is. To mitigate the consequences and potential damages of relying on legacy hardware, software and process modernization is key.

It Starts With You

Modernization benefits everybody in your organization all the way from the ground floor to the c-suite.

If you can see missed opportunities to bring your company’s technology into the current century, hopefully you now feel inspired to bring it to your leaders’ attention and help affect consequential change.

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Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews is a freelance big data and technology writer.