Out-of-date technology and software can waste up to 40% of working days a year

Technology is often the backbone of many businesses, powering growth, efficiency and adaptability. However, internal systems and software can cause many challenges for business owners and employees if not monitored and appropriately reviewed.

From out-of-date devices to historical platforms that no longer serve a purpose and processes that are not aligned across a business, software development company Propel surveyed UK office-based workers to determine their daily challenges with technology.

The top 10 challenges businesses face when it comes to technology¹ are:

Understanding new capabilities of systems (27%)
Out-of-date software (26%)
Workload management issues (22%)
Manual updates (20%)
Technology skills gap (20%)
Limited functionality of tools (19%)
Software updates (18%)
Data accuracy manual entry (18%)
Processing speed (17%)
Integration issues (16%)

The new research indicates that more than a quarter (27%) of workers find difficulty understanding new capabilities of systems, and more than one in four (26%) admit out-of-date software cause everyday challenges at work.

The growth in technology skills shortage over the last 12 months appears to have impacted businesses, as one in five (20%) of respondents see the current tech skills gap as a challenge. According to the latest BCS State of the Nation report², there were more than 64,000 vacancies for UK tech jobs in the third quarter of last year.

Splitting the results by industry, those working in logistics and transport (32%), manufacturing and engineering (28%), finance (32%), energy and utilities (30%) and law (44%) find out-of-date software the most challenging technical issue day-to-day.

Although surprisingly, cybersecurity privacy didn’t make the top ten overall, this was the biggest challenge for those working in science and pharmaceuticals (40%), equally as challenging as limited functionality of tools, lack of systems integration, slow IT response times and lack of IT strategy.

With over one in six (16%) workers listing system integration as a significant challenge, the data suggests that overall, software or system issues, including integration, take up at least 94 working days a year.

The survey also revealed that, on average, across industries, businesses waste 104 working days a year due to out-of-date laptops, hardware or technology (that’s at least two hours a week!). The manufacturing industry, in particular, wastes up to 122 working days a year; for SMEs, in particular, this could be extremely damaging and cause an incredible potential loss of income.

Digital Transformation Case Study – Simply Washrooms
Simply Washrooms has been creating safe and sustainable working environments and service washrooms for over 30 years. With a nationwide fleet of service providers, Simply Washrooms must be able to plan routes, book customers, schedule and track supplies, manage workload and teams on the move and factor in real-time delays, disruptions or staffing changes to meet and deliver their client’s needs.

Andrew Shelley at Simply Washrooms outlines the impact the digital transformation of their document storage and sharing system has had on their delivery of services: “As our business had grown, our documentation systems requirements had changed and evolved. A critical part of our service offering was providing legally required waste processing notes which needed to be created on the move by our team that services buildings and then stored centrally for all to access. With this in mind, we wanted to put technology at the heart of our business to help us service our clients more effectively and become more transparent.

“Working with experts in bespoke software development has completely transformed our document creation, storage and management system. After an in-depth dive into our system and infrastructure, an entire serverless documentation infrastructure was developed that integrated across our business to deliver essential waste management paperwork to clients instantly. Our new system has created business efficiencies and it has removed costly and time-consuming manual entry or duplicate logging.

“Knowing that we have a trusted technology partner that understands our process inside-out and can provide ongoing support and monitoring for the essential documentation system ensures that our team can focus on improving customer service instead of manual data capture or technical challenges.”

Andy Brown, managing director and co-owner of Propel, summarises: “As a company, we spend a large proportion of our time improving business efficiency and best practices in organisations but it still surprised me how much time is lost due to IT issues. Technology is now the heartbeat of every organisation, and tracking and improving IT efficiency is an easy way to improve business performance and should give a clear return on investment.

“We often find businesses have systems that were once fit for purpose but have not been managed or updated over time as the business has evolved. In order to reduce challenges within the workplace and improve accuracy and efficiency, businesses should be looking to improve current systems as soon as possible or replace them with a new infrastructure depending on the functionality and technology used.

“With technology innovating daily, it is becoming increasingly difficult to internally recruit and build an IT team with a forward-thinking digital mindset. However, sourcing a digitally-driven team that can act as an extension and work collaboratively to assess your technology and enhance the existing system could be the answer to your problems and financial goals.”

If you’re looking to reduce challenges in technology, you can read the complete study here:

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