Future-proofing your software is no longer a nice to have—it’s an expectation that customers and employees hold for the technology they use, whether legacy or net-new. Previously thought of as just a buzzword, the trend of future-proofing has only accelerated over the years. Like most areas of business, the pandemic has also had a significant impact on how organizations approach future-proofing. To stay competitive, organizations must take a total experience approach to future-proofing enterprise software.
What does the term “future-proof” mean?
At a fundamental level, the term “future-proof” relates to the ability to prepare for and adapt to an uncertain future. Forbes characterizes the term as the ability to prepare for the future, innovate and adapt. Future-proofing your enterprise software is about being in sync with the buyer, user and customer. It requires understanding how your technology is being used and how that use case evolves as the market evolves—and being able to continuously innovate and adapt to meet these changing needs.
Smartphone updates are a great everyday example of future-proofing. Smartphones are constantly pushing updates in the form of security patches, which help future-proof your phone by ensuring that your technology is secure and protected against the latest hacks.
The COVID-19 pandemic is another prime example of how circumstances can change in an instant, impacting the way we do business. Nobody could have predicted the disruption caused by the pandemic. Suddenly, businesses of all sizes had to transform and adapt to new buying systems and new ways of working—and they relied on their technology to help them do so.
What does it mean to future-proof your software solutions?
Future-proof technology is about being able to understand and continuously evolve your solutions by considering the challenges you are solving today and how they might change in the future. It also requires that you make your technology composable so that you can build on top of it and continuously modernize.
Organizations need to adapt, change and evolve to avoid obsolescence. The ability to do so requires software that incorporates composability, scalability, flexibility, extensibility, security, and continuous iteration, as well as open architecture that enables extensibility through the use of APIs. These elements are interconnected. Leveraging open standards, composable design and continuous iteration can promote flexibility, scalability and extensibility.
Some examples of how software solutions can future-proof include:
- Release cycles that ensure continuous innovations are pushed to customers on a regular basis
- Fully composable and scalable platforms that enable organizations to modernize and augment front-end and back-end tech stacks, improving both employee and customer experiences.
Learn how to future-proof your information management.
What are the benefits of adopting future-proof software?
If you consider the opposite of future-proofing to be ripping and replacing outdated technology, then one of the primary benefits of adopting future-proof software is that you increase the lifespan of your technology. Additionally, future-proof software can help organizations avoid costly change management projects that result from ripping and replacing technology. This not only contributes to the bottom line, but it also contributes to employee satisfaction by eliminating the need for employees to learn new software every few years.
For organizations with on-prem or in hybrid environments, future-proofing could come in the form of migrating some or all of your applications to the cloud or shifting to a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering.
Adopting future-proof software also ensures you always have the latest technology and the latest security updates to help keep pace with changing market trends and emerging risks. For organizations operating in the cloud, future-proofing comes from continuous innovation via upgrades and security updates delivered automatically through the cloud.
How does future-proofing your software impact your return on investment?
Future-proofing your software impacts your return on investment in three key ways:
- Cost to serve the business
- Employee retention and productivity
- Customer retention and satisfaction
Future-proofing your software means organizations will have to undertake fewer change management projects related to implementing new technology, which can result in cost savings as well as increased employee satisfaction. Increased employee satisfaction has been shown to lead to increased productivity. Additionally, undertaking fewer change management projects means that your employees can focus on delivering the best service and experience to your customers. This, in turn, leads to increased customer satisfaction and a reduction in customer churn.
Ready to future-proof your enterprise software? OpenText can help.