Although it is a slightly inelegant term, “futureproofing” is one of the most important concepts in business-related Information Technology (IT).
Change is endemic
IT changes at an incredible rate.
Although it’s possible to argue with some justification that certain of the basic concepts haven’t changed for decades, the way those concepts are delivered most certainly has. In fact, fundamental changes requiring a sometimes fairly radical re-think of the way you do things, can happen several times within a single year!
Over the last 30 or 40 years, customers have become accustomed to that and many have coped admirably – but the pace of change is increasing.
This radical change can’t typically be described as being popular. Whilst it brings with it some very significant opportunities, it can also deliver some fairly meaty challenges, including:
- a seemingly endless cycle of maintenance and upgrading costs to cope with the new;
- risk – both in terms of operational continuity when changing websites and your strategic procurement decisions (i.e. getting it wrong when buying).
Understandably, travel site owners don’t relish the prospect of constantly writing large cheques in order to buy the latest approach and they are even less willing to face the risks of buying an obsolete or fundamentally flawed solution at the outset.
All these concerns coalesce into the concept of “futureproofing”.
In IT, it is essentially impossible to purchase a “once-and-always” solution that will never need updating or perhaps replacing. No travel website designer, however skilled, can unconditionally promise that to a client, any more than a salesperson in a car showroom can declare that a vehicle will never break down or need replacing at a future date due to age.
However, a skilled travel website designer CAN reduce your costs and risks significantly in those respects. They will apply their skills to try and ensure that your travel website solution is as flexible as possible in terms of coping with potential future changes.
Those changes might be related to technical infrastructures, such as making sure it can seamlessly handle new releases of Android or Windows or indeed functional changes, such as new legislative requirements or changes in the way you decide you wish to engage with your clients.
That is called “futureproofing”.
How it’s done
Just some of the approaches a travel website designer might adopt, in principle, would include:
- avoiding the selection of esoteric software solutions that are non-standard in the marketplace (and hence possibly a technology dead-end in the near future);
- a simplicity of modular technical design, meaning that your website can be quickly changed as requirements demand without needing to start a rebuild every time virtually from scratch;
- using standard design and build methodologies that any technical person could understand and quickly modify, rather than being riskily exposed by eccentric bespoke approaches that create a reliance on a single technical “guru”;
- designing from the outset for a wide range of customer devices (smart phones, PCs etc.) rather than trying to bolt new device support onto the website on a case-by-case afterthought basis;
- modelling your process requirements for the customer experience, so the website reflects your and the customer’s requirements rather than what the designer or builders decided to give you (thereby reducing downstream changes and tweaks).
The right travel website designer, through futureproofing, can help you to eagerly anticipate the future rather than dread it!