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Room To Grow

Growing fast? Don't let system overload slow you down.

This story appears in the February 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It's a scenario you've seen too many times in too many places: unexpected volume overloads the computer system. Or the telephone system can't handle the flood of incoming calls and gives customers a busy signal. Could this happen to your new company? Not if you create an expandable architecture that delivers the capacity and flexibility a growing needs.

Overload was a problem facing Universal Tax Systems in Rome, Georgia, when the company developed an electronic tax filing subsidiary. CEO Randy Tullos, 38, recalls that in the early days of this , the industry's growth rate was in the triple digits and volume was impossible to estimate. "Sometimes we'd have to forward returns to the within a few hours of receipt--and some of them required heavy-duty number-crunching," Tullos says. The solution was not to buy the biggest and best computer system available but to create a LAN of PCs that could be reconfigured quickly to accommodate changes in volume, and then shifted back to another purpose when the peak demand passed.

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