March 21st, 2020 - by Olivia Stiles

How to deal with the challenges of scaling your digital business

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Being successful at scaling digital depends on so much more than having the right technology. Digital transformation is frequently challenging when it comes to scaling, reinventing processes, and selecting a relevant approach for your business. Digital transformation is frequently equated with disruption, and disruption is inevitably going to create a lot of buzz; however organisations won’t just cause disruption for the sake of it, the real aim is going to be growth.

Digital transformation is a widespread strategy to push the universal goal of growth. There’s pretty much no business out there that doesn’t have growth of some kind as an aim, but in order for your business to grow you need to be able to scale. In this blog, we outline some of the key things to know about digital scaling and how to deal with these challenges.

The Challenges of Scale

While most organisations require scaling to push forward meaningful and sustainable growth, the hurdles to development at scale will vary depending on the characteristics of the business. It seems clear that small startups need to hire more people, expand operations, and so on. For these companies, scale is about building out their resources to meet increasing demands.

Bigger businesses will likely have an infrastructure of teams, tools and processes in place already and may be scaled up in terms of resources – any additions are likely to be incremental to this process. For these companies, meeting shifting market expectations often demands a different type of scale.

Digital Scaling Efficiency

Larger and more established companies, on the other hand, most definitely have a bigger infrastructure in place. They may have to invest in extra capabilities or a more modern functionality, but for these businesses, digital transformation is heavy on the transformation part of the business plan.

For lots of enterprises, this requires adopting a DevOps culture and model, which means moving toward a microservices architecture. Creating a DevOps culture isn’t just about changing the org chart. You’ll also require a DevOps toolchain to back the new functions and processes, so you’ll be able to realise the benefits of this approach. And, while you’re operating in a microservices environment, you can swiftly make changes or add new services simply and quickly because the functionality is broken down into smaller, more manageable sections.

Development Planning at Scale

As previously mentioned, growth is a business essential, and digital transformation provides a necessary path towards that objective. However, in order to make sure that this path is successful and sustainable over a prolonged period of time, all businesses need a strategy for how to scale and support their digital transformation initiatives to meet their growth goals. They have to be able to realise and proactively manage their risk profile on a continuous basis, which can move dramatically as the organisation scale progresses.

This also includes adopting approaches and using tools that enable individuals to add more human and technology resources without abandoning agility, and that will permit them to execute and adapt. All of this can be done without compromising on security and compliance within the business.

The Bottom Line 

Clearly, there are several considerations with regard to digital scaling, but here are a few takeaways to consider:

  • Focus on long-term outcomes
  • Effectively manage change for people at all levels and parts of the organisation
  • Make your corporate structure work for you, rather than against you
  • Consider operational changes
  • Test early and frequently for scalability
  • Build up a strong digital core

Lots of businesses are failing to get to the point where their impact is felt across a whole organisation. An inability (or unwillingness) to scale will undermine everything over time.

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