You Don’t Need A Fancy Upgrade – Making The Most Of Your Existing Technology

I’m all for using technology in order to improve your productivity and to provide a better service/create a better product. With the right software and hardware you can automate and scale up aspects of your business that would other eat up your time and you can spend more time on the create aspects of your company and the relationships that make it tick.

But while I do believe in the importance of technology for companies, I also do believe a lot of money is wasted on software and hardware where it’s not necessary. In many cases you can accomplish a great deal with existing software and hardware in your organisation, or by using free services that do all the same things as expensive software packages.

The Power of Windows

The first example of this I want to look at is Windows and just how much it’s capable of, especially if you got Microsoft Office with that.

As a company trying to increase your output you may be tempted to try paying for apps to help with productivity, time management and organisation for instance. Perhaps you’re looking at piece of high tech note-taking software, or maybe a ‘to-do list manager’.

While these might be useful products though, most of what they promise can be accomplished using Microsoft products you probably already have. The best note taking/to-do list program out there? Notepad. It’s easy and it’s simple – just make a folder dedicated to notes, with some sub folders, and then make new notes quickly in there (right click then ‘new’ text document). Likewise you can save images in here and whatever else you want, and if you want to access it on your other devices you can just drag the whole lot into DropBox (which is free) or SkyDrive (which comes with Windows 8).

Another incredibly powerful tool your business already almost certainly has access to is Excel. It’s easy to underestimate just what Excel is capable of, but really it can replace even the most high-tech contact management systems, accounting programs and more. You can use this to calculate complex equations, to organise large amounts of data and much more. Save it to SkyDrive and it’s all up there on the Cloud too. And if you don’t want to pay for MSOffice then the same thing can be done with Google Docs.

Creating Your Own Software

Really the power of Excel is limited only by your ability to create powerful spreadsheets, which is basically a fundamental form of programming. You can of course take this programming further though and use some JavaScript with PHP to create useful apps that you can use online to handle calculations or store and deliver information for you.

Rather than paying for an expensive program, why not ask the programmer on your team whether they could knock something up that would handle just what’s essential for your organisation?


You can also do more with your existing hardware than you probably realise. If you’re a commercial company and are looking to spend money on a restaurant point of sale system for instance, then you should bear in mind that you can achieve the same thing by using an iPad with POS software. This will not only save you money on a new system, but will also allow you to take payment in a quicker and more intuitive way without having a large bulky till between you and the customer.

There are many other things you can do with tablets around the office too, whether you use them to show the specials on your menu, or whether you use them to give presentations – who needs fancy new hardware to show recent takings?

You can even use old computers and tablets to perform jobs that don’t require a lot of processing power – or even as external storage devices. In short there are many ways you can get more from your current systems so a lot of the time you don’t need a fancy upgrade.

Upgrade when you will get more power and functionality to speed up your workflow yes, but don’t do it just because you think it’s the right thing to do or without trying to get the most out of your current setup.

Featured images:
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  • License: Creative Commons image source
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The author of this post, Harry Ronald, works at Aireus, well-known providers of iPad POS software. Harry loves skiing and snowboarding with his friends on weekends.