TLDR: Recent innovations have helped consumers and businesses skip the established standard and adopt something that fits what they need right now. The trend, often referred to as leapfrogging, is playing out everywhere, too – from small businesses to retirement homes to developing countries.

Business of all sizes will eventually have to upgrade their technology and there are two main ways to approach this. First, a business can make small, incremental updates to office tech, e.g. Version 1.0 to 2.0, 2.0 to 3.0, 3.0 to etc. That approach can help ensure that a company is always competitive in its industry because it never lets the capabilities of others get too far ahead. The alternative approach is to essentially skip intermediary upgrade cycles and instead make giant, less frequent leaps, e.g. Windows XP to Windows 8. It seems like this approach could be cheaper but there are other costs that must be considered. For example, the learning curve that employees must overcome to be adequately brought up to speed on how to use the latest software or hardware update can be substantial and as a result be devastating to productivity and create additional expenses. But with some recent innovations, technology leapfrogging can indeed be a more attractive option for many businesses. CIO explains, “Here are examples of emerging technology helping various groups skip existing technology, along with an explanation of how it happened and a look at what it means for the future of that tech and that demographic. The cloud continues to cover a greater portion of business computing. According to Technology Business Research, 82 percent of enterprises are adopting cloud professional services. Forrester, meanwhile, predicts that, by next year, more than half of enterprises will prioritize building private clouds. In all, cloud spending by businesses is forecast to reach $235.1 billion by 2017, predicts IHS Technology – triple the $78.2 billion spent in 2011. As existing businesses shift from servers to the cloud, many new small businesses are skipping servers altogether, says Dan Tully, executive vice president of Conduit Systems. (So are larger organizations, including the state of Pennsylvania, which has signed a $681 million government cloud contract with Unisys.) “You don’t want to say there’s a no-brainer in the industry, but it’s a no-brainer to start with the cloud,” Tully says. “Why take on those initial capital expenditures when the functionality is out in the cloud at a fraction of the cost?” This has especially proven true for businesses that have just received funding. They see servers as an extra, unnecessary expense. It’s not just about cost, though, Tully says. The cloud allows for accessibility anywhere, on any device. Five years ago, a laptop was all you needed to be deemed a “mobile employee.” Now the market is flooded with powerful tablets and smartphones. (More on those later.) “Getting access to brick-and-mortar server infrastructure is more problematic for those devices as opposed to going to the cloud,” Tully says. “The exchange of information is seamless from those devices…””