We hear many companies talking about being “evergreen,” a rather vague term that doesn’t really say what it means for their customers.

When a company offers an “evergreen solution,” it brings to mind ideas about the environment and sustainability, but that’s not the definition we are talking about here. In this case, it’s more likely they are referring to a service or solution that will retain its relevance and effectiveness. It can also mean automatic renewal at the end of a contract, or that content is always relevant and up to date.

That’s all well and good. But how does it work when it comes to technology? Well, if your technology is evergreen, then it won’t be limited by a shelf life because it’s been purposefully designed to evolve as the technology changes so it won’t be left behind. If it’s a truly evergreen solution, for example, you will be able to easily keep up with the continuous evolution of business applications with all their associated complexities.

Costs are another factor to consider when you’re looking at an evergreen solution. You should have no additional costs, such as buying unnecessary and expensive new hardware and software just to maintain or expand the functionality of your service. Plus, when hardware purchases are reduced, environmental sustainability actually does come into play, since the more you reduce the amount of outdated hardware your organization has to replace, the less you will contribute to the millions of tons of waste that are thrown away each year, ending up in landfills. Furthermore, an evergreen solution should enable your organization to easily ride the technology curve—without additional costs beyond the contracted monthly fee.

Another major factor when considering such a solution is to ask the question: is it future proof? For example, you should look for solutions that won’t result in your equipment “aging out” because it’s no longer supported by your current contract. If it’s evergreen, it means you’re buying the most advanced system or technology now, and you can be confident that it will stay advanced because you will be upgraded automatically with new features and services.

Today’s organizations are constantly struggling to keep up with the rate of digital change—from automation and big data to emerging technologies and cybersecurity—presenting them with whole new layers of complexity as they strive to innovate and stay ahead of their competitors. It’s critical, therefore, to work with a service provider that keeps up with rapid changes and grows in step with the rate of digital advancement.

In other words, the best thing about an evergreen solution is that it shifts the responsibility for staying relevant and up to date away from the buyer and puts it on the vendor, and that never gets old.