As society and industry march deeper into the digital age, many businesses are finding themselves in the precarious position of requiring IT talent, while also lacking the resources to build a full-time, in-house team.
The easy solution? Outsourcing these needs en masse to external vendors.
Outsourcing IT labor can certainly work - and it’s often entirely appropriate - but it’s not without potential complications. When companies commit to the wrong vendors, they can end up completing their engagements with little to show for the resources they’ve invested. Further, issues with vendor turnover and even full-blown vendor abandonment are the surprisingly discouraging reality in far too many cases.
Under these circumstances, costs can balloon unexpectedly and goals can disappear into the distance as more immediate maintenance concerns take over. How can this all be avoided? Ideally, by asking a single question.
What Should You Be Asking?
Put simply, the #1 question most companies should be asking potential vendors (but often aren’t) is:
"How will your solution scale as we grow?"
This question is built around a critical focus on your company's technological foundation. Long-lasting solutions - rather than the quick wins many vendors provide - are those that accommodate the many other elements your system already has at play, rather than jeopardizing your operations with potentially hazardous oversights.
This single question may seem unnecessary if your current system is working well. However, as your business's needs expand, so too will your system's relative complexity. This has the potential to create maintenance and stability nightmares within a once workable infrastructure.
System Scalability and Compatibility Challenges
In order to guarantee the smooth and consistent development of your company's systems, it’s important to view them on a much larger scale - through the lens of your business’s future needs.
There are a number of obstacles that commonly come up as organizations aim for increased features and capabilities:
In tandem with feature creep, vendor-specific layers can also find their way into your systems, embed themselves deeply along with a suite of weaknesses, and prove difficult - if not impossible - to extricate further along in your business's development.
Overt increases in complexity are natural in any growing company's operations. But such complexity may spiral out of control if your underlying systems aren’t designed with future requirements in mind.
IT Infrastructure Falling Behind
When systems fall short of needs and expectations, their failings can start to cost money. Backed up production, weakened market offerings, and more go hand-in-hand with a lagging system.
Issues with the way data flows and drops in availability can jeopardize important client relationships. This becomes even more important where compliance and data security are concerned, as you may need to abide by regulatory guidelines that are hard to meet with a tangle of mismatched integrations.
Patchwork and Band Aid Solutions
In an attempt to rectify the above stressors, some organizations turn to quick one-off solutions that can actually cause more trouble than they’re worth. Although fast changes are often necessary in certain industries, lumping features onto an already unstable system proves unsustainable in practice in the long-term.
How to Plan for Scalability
Developing a software system or pivoting an existing one to better scale as your business develops involves knowing what your needs are now, as well as what they’re likely to be in the future.
Assessing Your Company's Needs
Finding a partner that can work with your company to accurately assess the current layout of your IT infrastructure helps tremendously, in addition to saving you time, effort and resources that must be spent righting wrongs later on.
That’s why, when working with a new organization, the team at Simpat aims to gain an understanding of how each client’s existing systems developed, as well as how they intend to evolve over time. Armed with this knowledge, potential problems such as data transparency and accessibility can be ironed out early on.
Predicting Growth Challenges
As growth occurs within your organization, additional development is likely to be needed. Accommodating these changes is much easier if the flow of data within your existing system has been streamlined ahead of time.
Thus, as new challenges and business interests become more readily apparent, you can use existing resources, instead of returning to the drawing board.
Creating a Scalable Foundation
Truly scalable solutions are optimized to be platform- and vendor-agnostic wherever possible, working with modern technology in principal, without getting in too deep with specific proprietary ecosystems. This approach creates lasting flexibility for your business, which can translate to better market positioning and client acquisition.
Simpat works with businesses to iteratively roll out stable systems, while gracefully phasing out existing infrastructure. This puts organizations on track with scalable software, without bringing business to a halt in the process.
Asking partners and vendors how you can best maintain your system's integrity as you expand - without blocking off the potential for future extensibility - can radically improve your business's IT infrastructure. Keep scalability and sustainability at the forefront of all system development discussions to ensure your company stays on course in its technological growth.