Posted on July 19 by ITSmart
Laying the right IT foundations for a scalable business

Whether you’re a startup or an existing business going through a growth phase, it’s essential to have the right technology in place so your business doesn’t skip a beat as things change. Even with the right business model, if your IT is not up to speed it can hamper your ability to deliver your products and services to your clients.

So if you want to be able to scale, laying the right IT foundations is a critical but often overlooked consideration. What are some ways you can get this right from the start? Here are some tips based on our experience from many years of working with small and medium sized businesses in Australia.

Need for speed

A typical issue we’ve encountered with startups is where internet speed is hampering what the business wants to achieve. It’s natural for startups to want to save money initially, but the people setting up the company don’t necessarily have the expertise in IT – though they might think they know.

A fast internet connection is essential for any startup. If you consider that just one individual is likely to have a number of different devices, then when you’re in a growth phase, the number of users can multiply quickly and slow down bandwidth.

There’s no point trying to run a business with a slow internet. Connectivity pricing is more affordable now and a decent connection is vital for businesses, particularly those who are going to make more use of cloud services.

Growing pains

In our experience working with small to medium size businesses, we’ve seen that their pace of growth often takes the founders by surprise. It’s not unusual to see a start up quickly go from a ‘one man band’ to a company of 10 people with the result that their technology capability falls short of their business requirements – and the expectations of the new staff!

Often the individual starting the business looks after the IT, but this clearly becomes unworkable when activity ramps up. Suddenly everyone is pestering them when things don’t work properly and they become the default IT support person.

Do you really want to spend your time trying to sort out technology related issues or would you prefer an IT specialist to do this so you can concentrate on your business?

Another advantage of talking to an independent technology expert is that they can be objective about your business. An IT consultant can help you create a roadmap for your business with advice about the mix of technology that you may require in the short and longer term.

Cloud considerations

Cloud computing is a key technology component of businesses today but it can be confusing when trying to choose among the many types of cloud services available.

There’s a multitude of cloud solutions on the market – from Google apps to Dropbox to Office 365. How do you understand the differences and pros and cons of each? Even within Office 365 it can be challenging to understand all the features to make a valid comparison.

There is an alternative solution that you may not have considered. What we have seen that often works well for a growing business is to bundle in say Office 365 with a managed services contract. This provides a scalable solution very quickly with little capital outlay.

As your business evolves your technology needs will change and the array of IT solutions to choose from keeps growing. An IT specialist will be up-to-date with all the tools and technologies to help you make the right decisions.

How to avoid common mistakes

The areas outlined above are some typical problem areas that if addressed early, can save you considerable time and resources in setting up your IT. To sum up, and suggest a couple of other areas that will give your business the best chance of success, here are some good steps to take:

  • 1. Choose an Enterprise solution upfront rather than going with the free services that come with domain registration.
  • 2. Make sure there is the right level of connectivity to support the business needs.
  • 3. Choose the right hardware for the business, for example a Mac may not to be able to fulfill a business function that you need because the software requires a Windows operating system
  • 4. Evaluate the various cloud solutions available and understand how your business can utilise all the features.
  • 5. As your company grows, ensure employees have somebody they can call to help them with IT rather than the business owner or another member of staff having to fulfil this function and taking away time from their real job.
Start a conversation

How much time are you spending on IT which could be better spent on your business?

IT Smart Solutions can help you find the right solutions – either on premise or using cloud technology, make the right decision on connectivity, guide you through the various cloud offerings and features, and provide a helpdesk support service if required.

Starting a business is a major investment of time and money but it’s important not to cut corners when planning your technology. We can help you establish a strong IT foundation for your businesses and help it grow.

For more insights, download our guide ‘Why your Cloud back-up is not enough – and other tips for securing your small business’.