All growing businesses know the struggles and challenges that scalability brings on a regular basis. It can seem like an impossible task to accurately predict the growth rates of your company’s technology infrastructure, especially as the businesses needs and capabilities are changing rapidly.
The last thing you want when your business is in a vital growth phase is for your technology to reach its capacity limits and slow you and your staff down. Even the most robust business plan in the world with the most talented leaders in the driving seat can fail if there is no scalability plan in place.
What is scalability and why is it important?
Simply put, scalability is the capacity for a business to adapt and evolve over time. It is an essential part of any business wanting to grow and expand in the future. Usually, scalability involves growth and the adaption of technology systems to sustain expansions and upgrades. If your small business does not have the processes and infrastructure in place to accommodate growth, then you will be limited in how much you can succeed.
A technology system is often considered scalable if it can increase its output and load when additional resources are added. These additional resources are often hardware, software upgrades or storage space that are utilised to meet the new and growing demands on the business. Scalability can also refer to staffing and employees, as some companies may need the ability to scale their workforce up and down to meet the growing needs of the organisation.
As your business grows, the primary objective is to continue to meet market demands, and this can be a struggle when market demands are continually evolving. To stay ahead of competitors your business needs to be able to adapt its approach to filling the ever-changing needs of customer demands.
Adapting your business
As your customer base grows, your resources and technology need to do the same, and if you have no way of handling these increases, then your efficiency and quality can suffer. An effective, scalable technology infrastructure will help to support these increases and allow you to take full control over your business without the need for additional time and resources.
Scalability is an excellent and cost-effective way to manage your business growth and avoid unexpected expenses, including replacing hardware and software that is no longer doing the job it should be. From a financial perspective, scalability drastically lowers your outgoing costs for technology, even if the initial bill is higher to begin with.
For example, if you have 10,000 customers within your database and invest in a technology system to support 500,000, you will not need to replace that system until you reach maximum capacity. It means your technology will not become outdated and redundant quickly and allows you and your staff to focus on the growth and progression of your business.
Many businesses across the country are focusing their time and efforts on creating a scalable technology infrastructure to support their growth. Toto Energy was founded in 2016 with plans to grow rapidly, they fully understood their need for a scalable infrastructure in their early days and recruited the help of technology specialists Cyan Solutions. The company has grown quickly, gaining 55,000 customers within their first year, and Cyan Solution’s cloud-based hosting system has supported and enabled their growth every step of the way; read the full case study here.
How to implement a scalable technology infrastructure?
Once you have decided to take the leap and transform your IT infrastructure into a scalable one, it can be a struggle knowing how and where to start. The use of cloud technologies is highly beneficial for scalable infrastructures and for helping small businesses to grow.
The cloud allows you and your system to be fully flexible and adapt to various changes as and when is necessary, as well as allowing you to make the most of easy implementation processes. Cloud software will enable you to add and remove software and applications without complicated reinstallation processes, making scalability an easy and straightforward process.
It is normal to want to get a head start and make as many areas as scalable as possible within your business, but it is crucial to properly understand that this may not be feasible for everything. This shouldn’t stop you from moving forward with the scalability where relevant though. It just should be taken into consideration when coming up with a scalable system design and purchasing equipment. It is just as essential to understand and recognise where you can’t change as it is to recognise where you can.
Scalability and migrating to a scalable technology infrastructure is not a simple task to tackle alone, but a worthwhile one if you are serious about growing your business efficiently. Often it is worth enlisting the help of professionals such as Cyan Solutions who can help you to understand where and how your IT infrastructure can be scalable, and the best way of implementing a new infrastructure.