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Size Matters – What You Can Learn from Small and Large Businesses

Traditional business wisdom says that, while necessary, growth from a small to a mid-sized business can be perilous. The challenges of changing culture and mindset are often immense.

For those in IT, this phase can be something of a no-man’s land, with none of the relative simplicity of smaller businesses, but without the dollars to spend like the top end of town.

We hear plenty about the nimble adaptability of small business and the premium infrastructure afforded by large corporations – but how do you navigate the space between the two?

There is much that can be learned from both ends of the scale.

For small businesses to capitalise on the agility they prize, it is necessary to make decisions about what can be reasonably done in-house, and where it makes sense to get help.

Many thriving small enterprises make the decision to hand over some or all IT functions to a trusted partner, and avoid the distraction altogether. This can make a lot of sense for those needing outside of business hours support. The cost can be unrealistic on a small business budget, but outsourcing gives economy of scale.

We’re finding that the growing array of cloud and hosting options are a gift for small and mid-sized organisations. The predictability of cost is definitely a help for many businesses we work with, but it is far more than that.

Prudently chosen hosting means you get access to top-end infrastructure without the big price tag it would otherwise attract. You may end up with tighter security and higher uptime than your higher spending competitors.

Add to that the ability to grow without impossible up-front costs, and the benefit of having someone else do the day-to-day maintenance, and hosted data and applications look like a very sweet deal.

At the other end of the scale, big businesses have more going for them than sheer buying power.

For starters, they have a lot of data, and increasingly, they know how to extract vital business intelligence from it.

Until a couple of years ago, analytics was largely the domain of those with serious dollars to invest, but now there are less expensive options. The big challenge here is know-how, so it pays to find a technology partner that really gets what you’re trying to achieve.

Like smaller businesses, corporates are increasingly turning to cloud options. This allows them to quickly try innovative new services without risking large amounts of capital. If a venture works, they can ramp up fast to meet demand. If it doesn’t, there is very little lost.

Of course, not all data and services are suitable for cloud options, so sometimes in-house infrastructure is necessary.

Large enterprise IT teams have relationships with vendors and partners that offer them tremendous support for their purchasing decisions. If your technology partner has strong vendor connections, don’t hold back on asking for the same help. We find that our vendor contacts are more than willing to lend their expertise when planning projects.

Good planning and research is key – and while you may not have so many available in-house experts as a big business, your technology partner should be able to guide you on which option will give you the best outcome. That is, after all, what we are here for.

For more about punching above your weight as a business, while remaining agile, contact the TechPath team.