Marty McFly showed us how to future-proof our own lives when we use time machines. Now it’s up to us to future-proof our businesses through cloud and other new technologies.
- What is “Future-Proofing” a Business?
- Beyond Tech: Future-Proofing as a Business Ultimatum
- Looking at the Future More Broadly
- Updating Your IT
- Tip #1: Simplify
- Tip #2: Purchase Assuming that You Will Grow
- Adopting a Cloud Server to Embrace the Future
What is “Future-Proofing” a Business?
Suffice it to say that Marty McFly ran into some problems in 1955. The character, played by Michael J. Fox, accidentally drew the attention of his mother and distracted her from his father. Before he went Back to the Future, McFly was in danger of overwriting his own existence! The only answer for him was to rapidly future-proof the world of 1955 so that when he returned to 1985, he would still be alive and well.
Now, Marty McFly’s scenario was a matter of life and death. That’s the case with future-proofing a business too: strengthening your company through forward-thinking can protect you from consumption by your competitors. However, note that future-proofing is not specifically about solvency; that’s more of an implication.
“Future proof… describes a product, service or technological system that will not need to be significantly updated as technology advances,” explains Techopedia, adding that cloud hosting “is sometimes touted as a future proof solution because the updates and upgrades are invisible to the end user.”
Note that although cloud does legitimately future-proof your business in terms of your role, developers are maintaining any cloud environment behind the scenes so that it remains secure and up-to-date with any emergent technology.
Let’s look at this topic from a bit more granular perspective.
Beyond Tech: Future-Proofing as a Business Ultimatum
If you want to be ready for the future, you want your technology to be ready to adapt with the times. That means it’s important to look at your systems and determine what needs updated to take on the challenges that are arising in the marketplace.
According to an analysis from the Work Institute, the technology should be useful to your employees and customers in order to be future-proofed. In fact, 60% of people surveyed said that they think newer technologies would help accelerate their organization toward meeting its goals.
“The onus on business leaders is to make the right technology choices that make employee and managers’ working lives easier,” explains the Work Institute report, “saving money and time that can be reinvested in better systems and continual innovation.”
Looking at the Future More Broadly
When Marty McFly looked at the idea of going to 1955, it sounded very exciting – but what Doc Brown knew might be problematic was doing anything that might accidentally change things for the worse. They also knew that safeguarding their future wasn’t about the time machine (the technology) but broader issues (in this case, relationships). In other words, future-proofing must go beyond technology to consider the entire scope of marketplace concerns.
You want to look at your industry – especially how it is playing out in the various markets where you operate. Your IT choices are going to impact the ability of your business to succeed in these changing environments, on a daily basis.
Here are five questions you can use to guide your future-proofing plan, from PwC:
- Is what the customer wants to buy starting to change? (Think the transition from wanting physical videotapes to wanting to access movies online.)
- Is manufacturing being updated? (Think 3D printers.)
- Are there new competitors?
- How might disintermediation (e.g. Google) pose a threat to your business?
- Are there any new laws?
“As the world changes, so too do customer needs,” says PwC. “The only way to remain relevant as industries become disrupted is to innovate and become part of the new economy.”
The thing you want to ask yourself is how you can be best prepared for major shifts in the market. Future-proofing is about considering various possible developments and building defenses for those scenarios.
Updating Your IT
OK, so future-proofing isn’t just about technology. However, technology is the way it’s often framed and considered, since newer technologies are known for helping businesses achieve an agility and speed that allows them to take any disruptions in stride.
What can you do with your systems?
Tip #1: Simplify
One way to be better prepared for the future is to think in terms of streamlining management. Could you upgrade one of your systems and immediately become more efficient? If so, “why are you delaying your upgrade?” asks
David Howell in TechRadar. “This is a great investment to make right now.”
Tip #2: Purchase Assuming that You Will Grow
When you purchase servers, cell phones, or sign up for hosting, pay attention to the general issue of adaptability. Assume that you will grow and that your needs may change rather than convincing yourself that everything will remain the same.
Adopting a Cloud Server to Embrace the Future
Are you interested in future-proofing your business to be better prepared for the months and years ahead? Your situation is more similar to Marty McFly’s than you might think: time is of the essence is you want your business to be ready for whatever may come. Choose Atlantic.Net for cloud hosting backed by 100% enterprise SSD storage.
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