How "Homegrown" IT Infrastructure Puts Growing Companies at Risk

Jan 22, 2020 10:48:51 AM / by Ashish Patel

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IT infrastructure is the core of modern business. With a solid infrastructure in place, companies can quickly scale to meet the needs of their customers, while staying competitive in domestic and international markets. Building out scalable technological systems upon which additional features can later be grafted is a necessary part of maintaining these infrastructures, but doing so requires that business and tech leaders be proactive when planning for the future. 

Unfortunately, even with the best of intentions, the burden of sustaining productivity in the short-term can push many to adopt practices that don’t truly support their long-term interests. "Homegrown," as-needed development - often acting as short-term bandaids to urgent business needs - is one such practice that can yield unstable results with potentially dire financial consequences, should any portion of your system fail unexpectedly. 

Avoiding this type of disaster requires that companies take a step back to look at the bigger picture before proceeding with each new phase of development, in addition to operating from a solid, central plan. 

 

Divided You Fall

When smaller companies make an effort to build out their technological infrastructure and their IT capabilities, they often incorporate the offerings of a number of specialized vendors and service providers, inadvertently creating a fragile ecosystem of interconnected solutions in the process.

This patchwork approach can yield spotty, insecure results in the form of systems that can malfunction at the drop of a hat.

Each individual element that is incorporated into such a system can bring with it a slew of technological dependencies and maintenance challenges which the company necessarily inherits - often to its eventual detriment. These challenges are further exacerbated when knowledge of the system is split between each vendor and never fully passed on to the company as a whole.

A number of pivotal business processes are put at risk by this practice, placing growing companies in precarious positions.

 

What You Risk When You Go the Homegrown Route  

Going the homegrown route in enterprise systems is often necessary in the earliest stages of a company’s growth. But at some point, investment is required to transition to professional-grade platforms. Forgoing this shift has the potential to endanger many parts of your business, as each new feature that’s added to the pile creates its own potential pitfalls.

 

Homegrown Systems Do Not Retain Top Talent 

Turnover is inevitable in all sectors to varying degrees, but IT talent in particular exhibits substantially more risk in this arena. This is especially true in the case of homegrown systems built on legacy technology. As top talent departs to work on more modern infrastructures, companies become more and more reliant on sub-par talent to scale the company.

Further, once experienced team members depart, rifts can form in the understanding of how the disparate pieces of a patchwork system fit together, slowing future development (even more than the onboarding process for new talent already does).

 

Failed Integrations Jeopardizing Everything

When integrations that worked initially begin to fail, pinpointing the exact cause of their problems can feel like finding needles in a haystack. Updated code, outdated dependencies, poor interoperability with other integrations and more can bring your business to a relative standstill as you work to reestablish existing functionality.

 

Constant Firefighting

Solving problems with existing solutions in a homegrown tech environment can quickly morph into a full-time occupation for your in-house talent.

As the general complexity of your IT infrastructure evolves, so too do these minor maintenance struggles. Small errors and bugs create additional problems in connected integrations, eating up the time your team would otherwise be able to devote to more strategic development initiatives.

 

Reduced Agility and Flexibility

With a downturn in strategic action comes a significant reduction in your business's capacity to react to new market developments and create novel functionality.

As technological trends develop quickly, such a self-inflicted handicap can cost organizations dearly in the race to keep up with the competition.

 

Additional Concerns for IT Teams

Dealing with a multitude of vendors as you flesh out your business's backend carries additional risks beyond those mentioned above. It also has the potential to introduce unique challenges into your daily operations.

 

Disorganization and Compliance Challenges

Simply keeping your technological system organized can become a challenge when multiple vendors and solutions are brought into the fray. Maintaining compliance with data regulations and laws applicable to your industry could necessitate a degree of organization that homegrown infrastructure can struggle to provide.

 

Communication Woes

Being able to communicate quickly and clearly with relevant service providers makes it easier to handle unforeseen crises. Even small issues are more easily dealt with when you can collaborate with your chosen vendor at any time.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible when multiple vendors are involved. Some circumstances even place vendors at odds with one another, if specific causes for internal issues can’t be neatly traced to their sources.

If you’re struggling with these or other challenges, a partner like Simpat can help accommodate your business's needs without losing sight of the bigger picture. In addition to delivering the features you need to excel and adapt, Simpat’s iterative rollouts limit the potential for downtime and disruption to your current ecosystem. 

 

For more insight into how Simpat transforms homegrown IT infrastructure into scalable solutions, set up a time for a personalized consultation

 

Ashish Patel

Written by Ashish Patel

Ashish Patel is the CEO and Founder of Simpat Tech.