Scalable technology is an area of regular concern for companies throughout the growth cycle, but it is a make-or-break-it concern for early- to mid-stage companies. At this point, the introduction of IT compliance requirements for privacy, data storage, cybersecurity, reporting, and more create a technology imperative that cannot be ignored. Due diligence requests from investors to determine a company’s viability combined with government-mandated compliance requires a serious assessment of an organization’s technology. And that means proving that your technology infrastructure can meet its current business needs and effectively scale as your company grows.
Scalable Technology is Mission Critical for Growth
In considering scalable technology solutions, it is essential to remember that IT functions do not exist in a vacuum but touch every aspect of business operations. In addition, the roots of technology extend further into operations as your company grows. IT impacts the success or failure of every function from quickly and seamlessly onboarding an ever-expanding pool of employees to implementing software to manage clinical trials and for your biotech startup or developing a technology stack that guarantees uptime for your investment firm. Leveraging technology’s power will become critical as your company progresses from startup to Series A and B.
Technology scalability can be defined as the range of a system’s ability to expand as demand changes. Anticipating how quickly storage loads can be increased or how databases will respond as new users are added are examples of gauging scale. Scalability is an almost constant operational concern but matters most during periods of rapid growth. The twin points of capacity and flexibility can be used to measure the scalability of any technology system.
Scaling technology should be viewed as an investment that reduces growth busting complexity and silos, includes flexible software and infrastructure, aligns with industry best practices, increases efficiency, and recognized as a revenue enabler and driver.
Taking a deeper dive, just what are some key areas of consideration for scaling technology for early-stage to mid-stage companies?
9 Factors for Delivering Scalable Technology
- Cloud Infrastructure – Cloud computing offers businesses the opportunity to realize cost savings, increase flexibility, and reduce complexity. However, things can get complicated as a business needs a scalable system. Out-of-the-box cloud services may no longer provide the required sophistication, and a customized mix of public, private, or hybrid cloud solutions is necessary. Increased spending will be needed to address additional processing, storage, and security requirements.
- Emerging Technologies – Be aware of developing technologies that could act as disruptors to your industry. For example, machine learning and AI have transformed various industries—some companies were ready to adapt, and some were not. Whether they deliver opportunities or challenges, emerging technologies can be significant game-changers that require a series of proactive steps or investments. For example, just think how different Blockbuster’s future could have been if they had only taken advantage of the industry-disrupting online DVD rental market sooner than they did.
- Avoid Data Silos – To the digital enterprise, data silos are anathema to growth, yet they are prone to develop as an organization scales. Therefore, as a company expands, it is essential to have a data management and governance program to address these silos before they become entrenched.
- Growing Employee Base – Your workforce is only as good as the technology it utilizes. From employee onboarding to performance management, your technology needs to seamlessly accommodate a growing workforce.
- Software Integrations – Be mindful of painting yourself into a corner with software applications and integrations as your organization scales. The scalable approach is to deploy a line of business applications with native support for integrations. These scalable business applications reduce the likelihood of data silos and the creation of time-consuming processes to counteract non-interoperability.
- Managing Collaboration – Collaboration is critical at any stage, but effective collaboration can suffer as an organization grows. A scalable collaboration platform should enable file-sharing and facilitate workflows seamlessly across a growing user base while protecting against security breaches.
- Building Processes – Document processes as your business scales to ensure a framework for producing repeatable and predictable results. Scalable processes can be executed quickly and efficiently as increased volume, more users, and greater complexity demands.
- Growing Necessity for Support – No matter your sector, planning for IT support is integral for your growing enterprise. As you add capacity, support can quickly become unwieldy or unresponsive and be a real stopgap to growth. As the number of users expands, the demands on an internal support team magnify. Planning for this challenge by outsourcing support to an IT partner will keep your firm on a growth trajectory.
- Increased Need for Cybersecurity and Compliance – Both cybersecurity and compliance increase in complexity as your company grows, especially in heavily regulated industries like financial service and life sciences. As a company progresses from startup to the funding stages, it needs to be prepared to take on the increased cybersecurity and IT compliance requirements that come with growth.
Leave Technology to the Experts
One solution for managing these scalability factors and optimizing growth is to focus on core competencies and leave the technology to the experts. A recent benchmarking study from Fidelity demonstrated that financial services advisors who outsourced reported higher growth. By outsourcing some or all your technology functions, you can focus on expanding your business and not your IT unit. Building in-house IT requires an enormous investment in both people and technology. Instead, choose the best scalable solution by partnering with Coretelligent to leverage our years of experience, industry-specific knowledge, and strategic technology advisors. Our scalable technology solutions will allow your internal teams to increase their focus on revenue-generating activities and achieving business goals.
As Chief Technology Officer, Chris Messer is a transformational and strategic IT leader who establishes and leads Coretelligent’s technical vision and technological development. Click here to learn more about Chris.