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Seven Tips To Scale Your Startup Using Efficient IT Infrastructure Upfront preparation with a sound IT setup can facilitate growth, and translate a business' vision into reality with ease.

By Michael Andersen

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Moving from being a startup to a scaleup with sustainable returns can be a tremendous effort. As an entrepreneur, I understand firsthand the complexities involved in launching your own business; from managing talent, streamlining operations, growing revenue, to ensuring overall growth.

Additionally, the recent popularity of hybrid work models seen across the world brings with it a unique set of challenges when mapping out an organisation's information technology (IT) infrastructure. A reliable and flexible IT system can play a critical role addressing these hurdles as you transition from being a startup to something bigger.

If you are at this juncture, consider the following points to minimize setbacks, and instead focus on overall business goals:

1. Communication matters Communication is key when setting up a business. Getting your message heard clearly and articulately can mean the difference between signing or losing that new client, making that hire, or closing that critical supply chain deal. These days, business is conducted in a truly global ecosystem, and there are real regional preferences when it comes to video conferencing platform solutions. Microsoft Teams is most commonly used in the GCC, but Zoom is very popular in the United States, while the European market remains a real mix. We also cannot forget Cisco Webex, Google Meet, Bluejeans, etc. Selecting a flexible system that can accommodate at least two or more of these platforms will give you the agility you need to be seen and heard, and conduct overseas business efficiently.

2. Flexibility is key Over the past few years, employees have come to expect a work-from-home culture or a hybrid working model, and, consequently, startups must be flexible when accommodating employees' technology needs. As offices evolve in line with these trends, startups can consider hot desking solutions to keep real estate bills low, as well as run cloud-based business email and collaboration tools, until they are ready to build a permanent office base.

Related: In An Era Of Artificial Intelligence, There's Always Room For Human Intelligence

3. Keep it simple In terms of IT, go minimal, and only invest in infrastructure that can be scaled up organically as you grow. Start with a full audit of any existing infrastructure that you may have in place to analyze where there is scope for improvement, in terms of time, vulnerabilities, and adaptability, and take it from there to assess what you really need, and if that can be outsourced. Additionally, there are several great cloud-based solutions that reduce the need for bulky and expensive premium hardware, so these may be the best option when you are just starting off to reduce risks and minimize costs.

Related: Here's How Managers Can Role Model A Good Work-Life Balance For Their Teams

4. Seek to automate Business email services should be protected using automated artificial intelligence (AI) powered mail scanning tools to mitigate the risk of data breaches and intrusions. Ensure automated alerts are linked to almost any security infrastructure, be it network security or physical security for your office, so private information remains respected and stored safely. You should also consider strong anti-phishing and anti-ransomware protection to build a robust technology system for scalable operations, especially as you grow your business and may require IT infrastructure across several locations and regions.

5. Look for a reliable IT partner Whether you are based in your mom and dad's garage, or in an incubation hub, you should be open to suggestions, and always ask for a second opinion. Look for an IT partner who cuts through the clutter, pushes aside the tech jargon, and is willing to give you straightforward answers.

6. Aim for a forward-thinking mindset What may look cheap now might end up costing you more down the line, so always ensure you have a technology partner who understands your needs and ambitions. Don't purchase hardware when you can lease it, and don't install infrastructure that suits only your "right now" needs– instead, lay the foundations for what you might need five years from now. Consider outsourcing IT services to a partner who can offer you the best-in-class support that they are ultimately investing in, and you can simply tap into for recommendations.

7. Consider outsourcing When using an outsourced model, you can control and lower your costs. The obvious benefits of outsourcing your IT needs are a reduction in recruitment and onboarding/offboarding costs, and the hassle that comes with it. Furthermore, good IT outsourcing businesses are always upping their game in terms of the latest products and trends, and, in turn, these are passed onto you at a fraction of the cost. Your uptime is guaranteed, and user issues that cost you in productivity are immediately resolved by an entire team of experts who aren't even on your payroll.

Technology is consistently evolving, and businesses have never before had as many options to grow and scale operations. Upfront preparation with a sound IT setup can facilitate growth, and translate a business' vision into reality with ease.

Related: According to OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, This Is The Skill That Entrepreneurs Must Absolutely Have To Ensure Their Success

Michael Andersen is the founder and CEO of EuroTech ME. Founded in 2009 in the United Arab Emirates, EuroTech ME is one of the leading information technology (IT) and audio visual (AV) solutions providers in the region. EuroTech ME’s broad range of customized solutions and services include IT and AV integration as well as design consultation, aiming to support functional workplaces allowing for efficacy and collaboration.

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