Category: Cloud Computing

Navigating the Technology Landscape: A Primer for Success in Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation
Uses digital technology to fundamentally change how a business operates and delivers new value propositions to its customers. Digital transformation involves the integration of digital technologies into all areas of a business. The changes can be so significant that they are no less than a revolutionary to the business model.

A recent Gartner study indicates 89% of Board Directors say digital is part of all business growth strategies. 35% of them have already achieved, or are on track to achieve, digital transformation goals.

The long journey to becoming a digital company is a tricky business. Success depends on many factors, including reasonable objectives that are clear and measurable. There needs to be organization-wide involvement. Sufficient investment in building capabilities needs to be allocated to sustain the change and use the right technology. That technology fits where the company is now and aligns with intermediate and long-term goals.

What to Look for in the “Right” Technologies 
One of the critical factors in successful digital transformation is the use of the right technology. Your team has to use the new technology; therefore, it must be easy to use so employees can start using it quickly and see the benefits. Choosing the right technology to support a digital transformation strategy can make all the difference between your workforce adopting it or not.

Organization-wide engagement and discussion are vital in understanding the business’s specific needs and what challenges will be solved by the new technology. Ask yourself, what are the specific goals that need to be achieved? Once these questions have been answered, only then will it be possible to start looking at the available technologies and identify the best fit to meet the specific needs of your operation. Therefore, it’s essential to involve everyone in the discussion. C-level executives must talk with the IT department, and IT should be familiar with the challenges and goals of other aspects of the business.

Scalability is another essential quality to consider. As your business grows and evolves, your technology must grow and evolve with it. Choose technologies that are easily scalable and adaptable to the changing needs of your business. Finally, when choosing the “right” technology, be sure it’s secure and reliable. Businesses rely on its technology to operate. Security and reliability must be part of the design.

The Cloud as a Building Block to Transformation 
As businesses evolve in the digital age, many realize the importance of moving to the cloud as a foundational building block to digital transformation. Cloud technology is becoming increasingly essential for companies that want to stay competitive and adapt to the changing business landscape.

One of the key benefits of moving to the cloud is its flexibility. By utilizing cloud-based solutions, companies can quickly and easily scale their operations to meet changing business needs. Scalability is particularly valuable in today’s fast-paced business environment, where companies must respond to unexpected changes and opportunities.

Another significant benefit of cloud technology is the ability to access data anywhere on demand. Remote access allows for more efficient collaboration and decision-making, which is crucial for any business looking to stay ahead in the digital age. With cloud-based solutions, companies can share information with stakeholders without worrying about information infiltration.

As data breaches continue to be a significant concern, companies must ensure that they have the proper security measures to protect sensitive information. By moving to the cloud, companies can take advantage of the latest security technologies and best practices to keep their data safe and secure. In addition, the cloud enables companies to implement advanced and secure system infrastructures.

Cloud Computing is Foundational  
Moving to the cloud is a foundational transition for businesses to undertake. 2023 marks a time when companies have already migrated to some type of cloud (public, private, or hybrid) or are about to start the process.

Cloud computing forms two core components of a company’s transformational journey. 

The Operational Backbone 
First, cloud computing configures processes to support stable operations and helps prepare the infrastructure for further digitalization. Doing what you’ve always done, only better.

The Digital Platform 
Second, cloud computing configures processes and enables additional technologies to configure new digital value propositions. Doing things you’ve never been able to do before.

Cloud implementation is the enabler we need to reach digital goals and facilitate digital transformation. And it is easy to see why. Moving to the cloud creates the flexibility company needs to respond to the unexpected. Moving to the cloud is the first step. Businesses with a strategy will ultimately reach digital maturity and be able to reap the rewards that the digital transformation journey promises. Building a plan will help you navigate from where you start today to where you want the business to be at various points in the future.

2023: The Year of Cloud-Driven Technology

As we move deeper into 2023, it’s clear that moving to the cloud is a crucial transition for businesses. Cloud implementation is vital for reaching digital goals and facilitating digital transformation. It creates the flexibility needed to respond to unexpected changes and is the first step toward digital maturity.

Companies are increasing their competitiveness by embracing digital technologies such as cloud computing, AI, IoT, virtual and augmented reality, blockchain, and 5G. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0, has disrupted nearly every sector and aspect of our lives, forcing industries to change how they do business.

Retail 
Physical stores are shifting towards online shopping carts.

Healthcare 
Telehealth offers more efficient access to the best medical care available.

Manufacturing 
Industry 4.0 promises a smart warehouse where connected equipment tracks inventory and sends alerts when it’s time for maintenance.

Publishing 
Digital editions are increasingly the preference over more traditional forms of publishing, such as books, magazines, and newspapers.

Connectivity and being constantly on and available are essential for industries to stay relevant.

An important thing to remember about digital technologies is that they are interconnected. More and more, the boundaries between them are blurring. Cloud-based solutions for hybrid and remote working and automation combine in ways that enable them to enhance each other.

Digital transformation is no longer an option for businesses that want to remain relevant. Thanks to the pandemic, the world is digital, and there is no going back.

Many project investments in digital transformation to reach $2.3 trillion by 2023, and industries as diverse as manufacturing, agriculture, health, energy, and mobility will be a part of this transformation.

Even the best in-house IT departments are too busy to stay on top of the new ways technologies can help businesses grow and work more efficiently. But there are fundamental steps every company must take to be on a level playing field with their competitors. One is having at least part of their environment on the cloud. Another is identifying essential business objectives that could only be achieved through leveraging digital technology. There is a crucial difference between those companies that follow trends to jump on the bandwagon and those that envision how technology can help them achieve far-reaching business objectives.

Have a Vision 
Sometimes creativity and innovation kick in when our backs are against the wall. Best Buy is an excellent example of using technology to turn a crisis into an opportunity. For years, Best Buy has been confronted with visitors checking out products in their physical store and ordering them at a discount through Amazon. It’s a practice called “showrooming,” It has been a thorn in the side of many retail companies, not just Best Buy. Target, Walmart, and Macy’s have all been struggling with “showrooming” to one degree or another.

By reconfiguring its supply chain and leveraging its retail footprint, Best Buy began offering order online and curbside pickup options to its customers. Best Buy started doing that over 12 years ago. When the pandemic hit, they quickly transformed each physical store into a hub for customer pickup.

Halfway through 2020, Best Buy made the most of the situation to experiment with different value propositions, including opening new stores for one-on-one in-store consultation. The company knows that its customers still crave a shopping experience. They like the convenience of going into a store, looking around, checking out products, and being able to ask questions about it. They’re trying different things based on this assumption, which seems to be working for them.

Best Buy just opened a couple of experimental concept stores. One is a small foot boutique in North Carolina. The store is a showroom where customers use their phones to scan what they want, and an employee brings the item out for purchase. The other “experiment” is a larger “virtual store” inside an existing warehouse. Customers get the same excellent Best Buy service through live video product demonstrations.

The aim of digital business design is to make companies agile enough to create a steady stream of innovative and evolving portfolios of digitally born offerings. One benefit of becoming a digital company is the ability to experiment with different value propositions. Leadership can respond rapidly to changing technologies and consumer behavior.

Conclusion 
The digitization of nearly every sector is leading us into uncharted territory. With new technologies come new opportunities and challenges for businesses across all industries. To stay competitive in this rapidly changing landscape, companies must embrace digital transformation or risk being left behind.

Undergoing digital transformation is not easy; it requires a fundamental change to the way businesses operate on every level. But for companies that can successfully make the transition, the rewards are numerous and significant. From improving customer experiences to generating new revenue streams, there are many reasons why businesses should embark on the journey toward digital transformation.

When done correctly, digital transformation can majorly impact businesses by driving growth, improving efficiency, and creating competitive advantages. However, it’s important to remember that successful digital transformation requires careful planning and execution. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Digital business design aims to make companies agile enough to create a steady stream of innovative and evolving portfolios of digitally born offerings. Embracing digital technologies and aligning them with business goals will be crucial for companies to stay competitive in the 21st century.

How Moving to the Cloud Provides a Gateway Opportunity to Growth

Cloud computing allows for easy collaboration and the sharing of data and resources among team members, clients, and vendors. That’s why overall growth in cloud spending continues to be strong. But collaboration and sharing merely scratch the surface of what cloud computing offers. The cloud democratizes computing technology. Cloud computing helps organizations reduce IT headaches, boosts productivity and strengthens security. Small and mid-sized businesses can give enterprise companies a run for their money.

Moving all or part of your IT infrastructure to the cloud enables companies to benefit from new technologies in various ways. Here are examples of some of them:

Scalability: with cloud computing, companies can quickly scale their computing resources up or down as needed. Increased scalability allows you to quickly and easily take advantage of new technologies without investing in expensive hardware.

Flexibility: use cloud services to run applications and store, or process large amounts of data. Test and experiment with technologies and see how they work in your environment.

Cost-Effectiveness: cloud computing can be more cost-effective than traditional on-premises solutions because you’re not making significant upfront investments in hardware. Pay for only the resources you need.

Speed: set up, configure and start using new workstations in minutes. Speed helps companies prototype new ideas, test new technologies, and get the latest products and services to market more quickly.

Access to Leading-Edge Technologies: many cloud providers offer access to cutting-edge technologies, such as AI, machine learning, and big data analytics, as part of their services. Companies can test out technologies without building and maintaining the infrastructure themselves.

Data Security and Compliance: Companies can leverage IronOrbit’s security and compliance features to keep data secure and comply with regulations.

Company-maintained data centers require personnel and hardware. They’re expensive to set up, operate, and maintain. IronOrbit helps you reduce your physical IT footprint and eliminates the tedious, intensive work of managing servers and data centers. Moving to the cloud eliminates costly IT infrastructure. Less infrastructure means your IT staff is not spending time patching servers, updating software, or doing tedious maintenance. Instead, they can work more strategically with stakeholders on high-value business objectives.

IronOrbit’s pay-as-you-go model provides tremendous agility to your business. You can now deploy technology solutions that were once too expensive or complicated to handle. With IronOrbit, you can scale your environment based on your need without paying extra for what you don’t need. Since IronOrbit builds and maintains its environment, we can offer you a cloud solution that makes the most sense for your situation. The IronOrbit cloud provides the kind of control you’d expect from having on-premises servers. Only your environment is safer, more robust, and more resilient in our cloud environment.

For example, let’s say you operate an accounting firm. When tax season rolls around, traffic to your website surges dramatically. Suddenly, you need equipment that can handle the traffic increases. That means you’re paying extra for the power you’ll need for a fraction of the time. The resources to support the site automatically kick in to accommodate the surge if you’re on the cloud. Companies that are quick in adopting cloud computing will have the upper hand in innovation and scaling their business. Those companies that don’t move at least some of their resources to the cloud may have difficulty keeping up and staying competitive.

In Conclusion
Moving to the cloud provides companies of all sizes with a gateway opportunity for growth. Scalability, flexibility, and the speed of cloud computing mobilize companies to create new growth engines and business models. Cloud computing can also enable companies to improve their data security, comply with regulations, and collaborate more effectively with partners and customers. Accessing cutting-edge technologies and services gives companies a competitive edge in the market.

While there are some trade-offs and challenges to consider, the benefits of cloud computing greatly outweigh the costs and risks, providing a solid foundation for growth and success. So, companies should consider moving to the cloud as a part of their long-term growth strategy. Stay competitive and adapt to the ever-changing technology landscape. Contact us for a no-obligation consultation. Start your journey today.

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How Digital Technology Helps Deal with Climate Change

Digitization and climate change are both hot topics. The two subjects are also getting used together in the same sentence more frequently. For example, did you know digitization is good for reducing carbon emissions? According to the World Economic Forum, Digital technologies have the potential to reduce global emissions by 15%.

Since the pandemic lockdown, people have been working from home. The workforce has been slow in returning to the corporate office setting. An IFS survey conducted last year reports that almost three-quarters of respondents plan to increase spending on digital transformation. The climate control benefits include a reduction of CO2 emissions due to less commuting and travel to in-person meetings. Technologies like Microsoft Teams have made multi-site team meetings easy and readily available.

Cloud migration is the price of admission to competing in the digital world. 

Moving your IT environment to the cloud reduces the need for additional hardware, but more importantly, to your bottom line and the environment, cloud migration modernizes your operations. While being on the cloud, and using robust cloud-enabled services like IronOrbit’s INFINITY Workspaces, won’t make your business carbon neutral, it is a significant first step on that journey.

DEMATERIALIZATION
How You Can Reduce the Environmental Impact on Doing Business

Hardware casings, cords, adaptors, and other electrical products are called E-waste. E-waste is a growing problem. Significant environmental damage happens because nature cannot absorb these products. E-Waste is a significant contributor to the haphazard disposal of old electronics: they’re inert. All E-Waste products contain hazardous materials of one kind or another. The toxic materials are predominantly lead and mercury.

By switching to IronOrbit’s cloud, you can reduce the amount of hardware because you no longer need to invest in so many on-site computer stations. There’s no need to pay for its maintenance or replace machinery when it becomes obsolete. Instead, you only pay for the exact services you need. Over time, this saves you money. Cloud computing can help your company become sustainable while making it more profitable and productive.

Reducing Needless Travel Reduces Carbon Emissions

INFINITY Workspaces is our brand of DaaS, robust technology that enables employees to work remotely with ease. There are different INFINITY packages to fit specific use cases. Even designers and engineers can access the most demanding modern applications on their mobile devices. INFINITY Workspaces empowers Geographically dispersed teams to do their best work. The technology inspires productivity while eliminating the need for lengthy commutes. It also eliminates the carbon emissions associated with daily commutes.

Adopting a work-from-home environment or even a hybrid workplace is an excellent way to reduce your business’s carbon footprint. You could also save some money in the process.

Shared Data Centers Reduce Greenhouse Gases (GHGs)

On-premises servers and data centers use substantial amounts of energy both for running and cooling. The manufacturing, packaging, and shipping of the hardware and peripheral products also add to GHG emissions. Companies can reduce emissions considerably by moving to a cloud computing environment. Once a company moves to the cloud, they use shared data centers. Like the ones operated by IronOrbit, shared data centers run far more efficiently than individual facilities or on-premises servers. There is no longer a need for personal equipment.

A recent forecast by the International Data Corporation (IDC) reports that cloud computing will prevent the emission of more than one billion metric tons of CO2 between 2021 and 2024. Moving away from legacy software and hardware and towards cloud adoption is a logical next step for companies. Insofar as business continuity and investment in the future, cloud migration is a necessity.

Cloud computing and all the digital benefits of having your IT infrastructure on the cloud are valuable for IT departments. IT departments can work more closely with business leaders to develop new sustainability goals. It is favorable for companies, and of course, it contributes to a healthier environment.

Contact us for a no-obligation proof of concept. We’re here to help.
The Smart Play of Smart Managed Services

At a recent design and manufacturing conference, a question came up. “Is the industry ready to make use of new technologies?” The answer came back, a resounding no. Most companies have skipped the step of digitizing their existing processes, so they’re not ready for new digital inputs. Perhaps an excellent intermediary step would be to reimagine business as usual by partnering with a managed service provider (MSP).

Shifting to a managed services environment is a critical step for many businesses. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with wondering about your next best business decision, then you’re not alone.

Many companies haven’t figured out how to change themselves enough to grapple with legacy challenges, let alone how to solve new, more complex puzzles like digitizing operations. By having an MSP like IronOrbit, companies can take their time becoming more comfortable with the idea of digitizing. When companies are ready to digitize, they won’t need to do major surgery on their IT infrastructure or data architecture before they begin. Instead, they’ll have a reliable partner who can focus on providing the right technology at the right time.

The Growing Skills Gap

In January 2021, a McKinsey study found that  87% of companies worldwide are aware of a skills gap. Gaps in IT departments will become increasingly conspicuous as emerging technologies continue to get a foothold. In the digital age, companies need to move fast. Ongoing IT education is prohibitive for many organizations. Even if the financial resources are available, the process is too slow. There is a genuine need for businesses to move faster than before. Whatever they can do to enable their operations to be more transformative and innovative with their use of technology, the better off they’ll be for whatever happens next.

As soon as an IT, enterprise resource planning (ERP), or e-commerce business solution is down; an organization instantly loses profits. Efficiency and expertise are necessary for getting these solutions back up and running. Bracing for the storm of increasing demand and decreasing labor power, business leaders may feel stuck when making their next move. If this is the case, managed services could be a solution. Here are the factors to consider.

Bridge the Skills Gap

A recent Prudential survey reports that businesses that focus on continuously expanding employee skills have a tremendous advantage over those companies that don’t. When critical business technology goes down, companies can’t wait for internal IT teams to figure it out. Having a managed services partner like IronOrbit can efficiently solve the issue; moreover, a predictive analysis might prevent such disruptions in the first place.

Your Perfect IT Partner: Five Things

When considering a managed services partner to fit your business, there are five key characteristics to consider:

  1. Cost Savings – With IronOrbit’s managed services expertise and ability to efficiently solve IT challenges, you’ll notice significant cost savings by filling the skills gap and preventing extended downtime, lag issues, and recurring IT problems.
  2. An Increase in Productivity & Efficiency – Supporting your business and employees is IronOrbit’s reason for being. IronOrbit’s Managed Services free your internal IT, so they can focus on other priorities and increase your business’s efficiency.
  3. Quick Response Times – IronOrbit’s support staff is available when you need them so you can increase efficiency. IOCentral’s self-help automation tools make it fast and easy to open support tickets and check status around the clock, three hundred and twenty-five days a year. IronOrbit guarantees a consistent and reliable communication line to address urgent issues efficiently. Access to IronOrbit Resources and Specialized Expertise. IronOrbit service providers are certified professionals who have the expertise your business needs.
  4. An Extension of Your IT Department – With IronOrbit’s Managed Services, you’re not just getting a solid and secure IT infrastructure; you’re getting a partner who can liaise between your IT department and your ERP and e-commerce providers for the most effective solutions. Your team will have more time to spend on furthering business-critical activities than solving IT problems.
  5. Finding What Works for Your Business – IronOrbit has the expertise and innovative technology to best support you and your team regardless of the business needs. IronOrbit’s Smart Managed Services enables you and your teams to step away from any IT needs to focus on critical strategies for sustainable business growth. You’ll have more bandwidth to experiment and figure things out. Plus, you’ll have a technology partner ready to provide options for any challenge that may appear on the horizon. Companies face innumerable disruptive threats and risks. IronOrbit’s Smart Managed Services ensure smooth sailing for your IT environment now and in the future. We’ll be there whenever you’re ready to do more of anything, including digitize operations.

 

Please call us now at 888-753-5060 for a free no-obligation consultation.

BIM – Building Better through Seamless Collaboration

Seamless collaboration is the future for many industries. But it is indispensable for the future of the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction industry (AEC) sector. A recent McKinsey report found that 80% percent of average cost overruns come from change orders. Imagine how well the industry would perform if that statistic weren’t there. Years before the pandemic erupted, the AEC industry rapidly moved toward remote and hybrid work models. Competitive firms wanted to make it easy for the right talent to join their project teams.

According to the World Economic Forum, 98% of people surveyed want to work from home for the remainder of their careers. A Gartner survey found 82% of businesses plan to retain a remote work environment. Enabling remote work is only one part, albeit a foundational one, of an increasingly complex question. As more work goes on outside a corporate office environment, businesses will use cloud technologies to make applications and files available from anywhere on any device. The question is how to stay current and competitive with the rapid changes in the industry.

The AEC industry continues to undergo tectonic shifts away from labor-intensive methods to automation through digital technologies. The growth of digitalization paves the way for more rapid adoption of technologies such as Building Information Modeling.

The Promise of Building Information Modeling (BIM)

BIM is a computer-based tool used by architects, engineers, and builders to design residential housing to high office buildings. The time-saving and improved efficiency modeling potential is enormous where entire life cycles of buildings are manageable. Building owners can benefit from real-time monitoring of energy expenditure peaks and valleys, physical maintenance requirements, etc. Why not connect the smart features of the building into the BIM equation.

The power of BIM is growing as more and more cloud-connected technologies take collaboration and connectivity to whole new levels. Think about the integration of BIM so that cities can monitor civic resources like water and power consumption. Waste and recycling initiatives could become more efficient. But for all of that transformational power and potential to save money and build better and more efficiently, BIM is what Mitchell Hughes, author of the Future of BIM is Seamless Collaboration, calls a downstream tool. Hughes writes that architects, engineers, and building designers don’t want many upstream changes coming in from contractors.

Project team leads must make information and communication accessible across a well-managed, secure environment for architects and engineers to use what BIM offers fully. You want an easy-to-understand way for all project stakeholders, from the design captain to the contractor and building manager, to tap into the information they need. One way to do this is through the adoption of Desktop-as-a-Service (Daas).

DaaS is an evolution of the old Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

The difference, and what a significant difference, is that DaaS is cloud-based. The fact that a company’s IT infrastructure is in a cloud environment accomplishes many things, not the least of which is relieving the company of the burdens of daily administration, upgrades, patching, and troubleshooting that goes along with an on-premises VDI deployment. Let’s face it, an IT refresh and managing many desktops and mobile devices can eat up much time; and, therefore, money.

The custom fit of IronOrbit’s INFINITY Workspaces allows internal IT professionals the mental bandwidth and time they need to strategize with business leadership to develop initiatives that can have a direct and meaningful long-term impact on the company’s success. Not only improving efficiencies but also setting the stage for new digital innovation. Better Communication and Collaboration mean fewer change orders. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) would enable handling the necessary changes quickly and easily. The entire industry would become faster and more efficient.

The technology professionals at IronOrbit are passionate about helping companies unlock the full potential of being on the cloud. We’re also passionate about seeing the promise of BIM fulfilled. IronOrbit’s INFINTY Workspaces is not just DaaS, but a gateway into a multilayered cloud ecosystem offering unprecedented value and benefit.

Learn more about IronOrbit’s INFINITY Workspaces; download your copy of the INFINITY brochure.

Why CrowdStrike is Essential for Security
Why CrowdStrike is Essential for Security

Cyberthreats to your business are at an all-time high. They are, as President Biden states, “the defining threats of our time.” Is your company prepared to withstand such attacks? According to a recent Gartner article, business leaders need to do more to strengthen their cybersecurity.

 

“There are only two types of companies: Those that have been hacked and those that will be hacked.”

Robert S. Mueller, former Director of the FBI – 2012

 

“There are only two types of companies: Those that have been hacked and those who don’t know they have been hacked.”

accredited to John Chambers, CEO Cisco – 2019

 

Days before Russian tanks began rolling into Ukraine; a significant connectivity outage hit Viasat Inc. (VSAT). The Carlsbad, Calif.-based company is a leading provider of high-speed satellite broadband and secure networking for military and commercial customers worldwide. Viasat modems control thousands of wind European wind turbines. Suddenly, they went offline. The outage hobbled the Ukrainian military as generals began preparing for the Russian invasion. Reuters later reported the blackout to be sabotage.

Although most well-organized ransomware gangs are in Eastern European countries, state-sponsored hacking groups are from China and North Korea. They use sophisticated tools to embed malware deep inside the most extensive networks. In many cases, malicious code can go undetected for months, infecting millions of computers.

On January 15, 2022, members of one of the main ransomware gangs, Our Evil Group, were arrested in Russia. The Putin regime has recruited them to become a state-controlled group of hackers. About a month later, we began to see a resurgence of attacks. And that’s only the attacks we read about in the headlines. For every ransomware attack you hear about, there are three others that go unreported.

 

Hackers used a software supply chain attack to insert malicious code into the company’s Orion system. A supply chain attack works by targeting a third party with access to an organization’s systems rather than hacking the networks directly.
The Software Supply Chain Attack

SolarWinds is a company that supplies its software to over 14,000 companies. Russian military intelligence inserted a form of malware that served as a sophisticated backdoor to these companies. It’s a certainty that some of these backdoors have been successfully embedded without US companies knowing about it. Corporations probably can’t determine conclusively whether-or-not a backdoor has been installed.

In the case of the SolarWinds Corporation, one of their customers, a cybersecurity company called Fire Eye, discovered the malware by chance. They had received the software and, months later, somebody noticed a questionable anomaly. SolarWinds is not a unique situation. There are sure to be other corporations that have been infiltrated.

Escalation of Ransomware Attacks

Recently, the President sent warnings to the citizens and businesses across the country and urged everyone to take steps immediately. Key targets include private companies and any organizations that could apply pressure to the national economy and the government, including critical infrastructures.

When it comes to ransomware attacks, no sectors are off-limits. Hackers are going to go after everything that they can. Last year, we saw how no company, large or small, was immune to attack. For example, there were ransomware attacks on the following:

  • Small Family-Run Fishing Business 
  • Ferry company on Martha’s Vineyard
  • Casino Hacked through a Fish-Tank Thermometer
  • Large meatpacking company 
  • The Colonial Pipeline

 

Raleigh, NC United States- 05-12-2021: A red plastic bag covers an empty pump at a gas station in Raleigh, NC, after a devastating cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline disrupts fuel supplies on the East Coast.

 

Nicole Perlroth assembles her decade of experience as the world’s leading journalist on cybersecurity and digital espionage in an in-depth history of cyberwarfare entitled THIS IS HOW THEY TELL ME THE WORLD ENDS. In it, she warns of the rising stakes for all of us.

The Colonial pipeline was devastated in May 2021 by cyber terrorists. Attackers distributed malware through email then demanded a ransom to restore services. The 5,500-mile pipeline transports 100 million barrels of gasoline and other fuel products per day to the eastern United States. According to a report from Reuters, gasoline futures spiked 3% and have remained above trend since that time.

Two months later, Jennifer Granholm, the Energy Secretary, said that bad actors gained the ability to shut down the U.S. power grid. Hackers embedding themselves in the nation’s electrical grid displayed tremendous sophistication that analysts hadn’t seen before. Whoever was behind the cyber-attacks on our country’s infrastructure was succeeding at an alarming rate. Who did the government call in to investigate? CrowdStrike. Why? Because CrowdStrike has been investigating high-profile cyberattacks since 2011. Investigators at CrowdStrike have even unspooled more recent attacks where the code dates back to 2010. So, CrowdStrike has been on the frontlines of cybersecurity since their beginnings.

What Can Be Done?

There are basic preventative steps that everyone must apply regularly. For example, don’t respond to SMS text messages from unknown origins. Don’t open links from emails of anonymous sources. Make that a personal policy and individuals will effectively eliminate most threats. Companies, on the other hand, are different. They need comprehensive and robust security protocols that are more sophisticated than the attacks.

Companies must realize that antiquated technologies like antivirus and firewalls are weak defenses against modern, sophisticated cyberattacks. Businesses must modernize their cybersecurity by using the new technologies mentioned by President Biden in his message to the nation. Businesses must use security measures like EDR and XDR to protect against modern ransomware groups.

EDR stands for Endpoint Detection and Response. It’s an integrated endpoint security measure that combines real-time continuous monitoring and collection of endpoint data with rules-based automated response and analysis capabilities. In the case of CrowdStrike’s EDR, the security technology combines a high degree of automation with machine learning to enable security teams to identify and respond to threats immediately. The next-generation endpoint protection leverages CrowdStrike’s state-of-the-art file and behavioral-based proprietary machine learning and Indicator-of-attack methodology. This is particularly effective at stopping new, polymorphic or obfuscated malware, which is often missed by legacy antivirus solutions.

An essential ingredient of “next-generation” is reducing overhead, friction, and cost in protecting your environment.

You don’t need a large staff to maintain the CrowdStrike environment. Everything is cloud-based, so there’s no equipment to maintain, manage or update. The Falcon sensor is unobtrusive, and updates are seamless, requiring no re-boots. The web-based management console provides an intuitive and informative view of your company’s complete environment.

XDR is Extended Detection and Response and is the evolution of having EDR as a pre-requisite technology. CrowdStrike’s Falcon XDR uses artificial intelligence to improve threat visibility by making sense of structured and unstructured data at lightning speeds. Falcon XDR rapidly and efficiently hunts and eliminates threats across multiple security domains. What separates Falcon XDR from all others is its ability to isolate and identify relevant telemetry from systems and applications across an organization’s entire IT security ecosystem. Falcon XDR delivers proactive, automated responses to threats across the security stack.

 

CrowdStrike® Falcon® Complete™ is a hands-off and worry-free managed detection and response (MDR) solution. The comprehensive security platform is unique. In addition to endpoint security, cloud workload, and identity protection, it provides the process and technology required to handle all aspects of onboarding and configuration to maintenance, monitoring, incident handling, and remediation.

CrowdStrike’s Falcon Complete protects an organization against someone clicking on a link they shouldn’t have. The technology sees the behavior, and as executable files begin unzipping, Falcon Complete begins monitoring for questionable activity. As soon as malicious activity, Falcon Complete isolates it.

Why CrowdStrike?

CrowdStrike has been leading the charge against cyberthreats since 2011 when it was founded. The security firm uses cloud-based software that collects threat data across all connected devices. Artificial intelligence analyzes the information and seamlessly updates all endpoints.

The fast-growing Austin, Texas-based company provides cybersecurity to 15 of the 20 largest banks and 77 Fortune 100 companies. Private sector clients are apprehensive about the escalation of cyberthreats against Americans amid Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Severe ransomware attacks are likely to increase as sanctions on Russia become more effective.

CrowdStrike has a long history of working with the federal government state, and national oil and energy firms to investigate cyberattacks and shore up defenses. Much of their innovations in security came from listening and working with clients to help solve the most challenging cybersecurity problems. Years of forensic analysis, fine-tuning, and adjusting to meet threats as they emerge have made CrowdStrike the pioneer of cloud-delivered endpoint protection.

CrowdStrike Falcon has revolutionized endpoint security by being the first and only solution to unify next-generation antivirus, endpoint detection and response (EDR), and a 24/7 threat hunting service. Millions of sensors across 176 countries collect and analyze more than 30 billion endpoint events per day. All of them use some form of machine learning and automation. These powerful capabilities are possible through a unique combination of prevention technologies. They include indicators of Attack (IOA), exploit blocking, real-time visibility, and around-the-clock managed hunting to discover and track the stealthiest attackers before they do damage.

The country cannot defend against cyberattacks alone, nor can your organization. Companies need the vigilance of every employee and every contractor. Business leaders must “accelerate efforts to lock their digital doors.” Using CrowdStrike is an effective way to secure all entries to your company’s infrastructure.

IronOrbit knows the importance of having resilient cybersecurity. That is why we protect our virtual desktops, INFINITY Workspaces, with CrowdStrike’s highest level of AI-enabled security technology augmented by live monitoring by a team of CrowdStrike’s team of security experts. Imagine having multiple full-time expert incident responders conducting day-to-day monitoring of alerts.

CrowdStrike® Falcon® Complete™ is a 100 percent hands-off and worry-free managed detection and response (MDR) solution uniquely provides the people, process, and technology required to handle all aspects of endpoint, cloud workload, and identity security, from onboarding and configuration to maintenance.

 

Learn more about how to protect your company here. 

or Call us at (888) 753-5060.

2022 Tech Trends to Increase Business Growth & Resilience

 

2022 will continue to see the digitization and virtualization of society and business. The need for sustainability, increasing data volumes, and computer network speeds will drive digital transformation as companies move from a survival strategy to one of thriving.

As promised by Moore’s Law several decades ago, technology advancements continue to accelerate, but the speed at which these accelerations are occurring far outpaced earlier projections. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report says, “Developments in previously disjointed fields such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing, and genetics and biotechnology are all building on and amplifying one another. More than a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will be comprised of skills that at not yet considered crucial to the job today.”

When you think about what technologies might be game-changing for your company in 2022, you aren’t thinking about nanotechnology, quantum computing, or neural interfaces. As much as the tech giants may want to forecast a utopian future based on these technologies, what your company needs right now is technologies that will help you get more done with less, work from anywhere, and support your organizational objectives.

Let’s dive into some “right now” technologies that can be disruptive in a good way to your workflow and organization as a whole in 2022.

 

Digitization and Virtual Environments

The trend toward leveraging big data and the digitization of workflow within organizations makes virtual work environments possible. During the pandemic, everybody scrambled to set up home offices. The organizations that already had a virtual IT infrastructure had a much smoother transition. Employees just had to grab their computers from the office and take them home. Others had to work through it and make adjustments along the way. Most of those that didn’t transition went out of business.

It’s interesting to note that many business leaders are still grappling with the employee question of when (or if) they’ll be returning to an office environment. Sharyn Leaver writing for Forrester, predicts only 10% of companies will remain fully remote. Of the 60% planning to shift to some sort of hybrid model, one-third of those firms will fail in their first attempt at anywhere work.

New technologies are emerging in every area. Cloud computing continues to be at the forefront of every discussion because it is foundational to everything else. All IT services, applications, and cybersecurity protocols are delivered through the cloud.

Last October, at Gartner’s IT Symposium in Stamford, Connecticut, analysts reported that enterprises must move away from “lift and shift” migration and toward Cloud-Native Platforms (CNPs). The power of cloud computing provides scalable and elastic IT-related capabilities “as a service” to technology creators using internet technologies, delivering fast time to value and reduced costs.  For this reason, Gartner predicts CNPs will serve as the foundation for more than 85% of new digital initiatives by 2025, up from less than 40% in 2021.

 

Aamer Baig writes in an article for McKinsey, “Most companies we know are well into their cloud journeys and understand notionally that the cloud offers a big opportunity. But many are struggling to capture the full value cloud offers. As in the adoption of any new technology, of course, hiccups are inevitable. But the fundamental issue is that companies are looking at the cloud as a source of IT productivity improvements rather than as a source of transformative value—which is more than $1 trillion, by our calculations.

Improvements in productivity and efficiency gains through cloud-migration programs can generate significant cost savings, but they essentially represent better ways of doing what IT already does. CIOs have a crucial role in getting the business to focus on the far bigger prize: the new businesses, innovative practices, and new sources of revenue that cloud either enables or accelerates.

One pharma company built its GxP-compliant IT environment on the cloud and uses an ecosystem of cloud services that connect with manufacturing instruments, robotics, and other systems. It has been using a combination of scaling, instance management, storage, workload processing, and data-warehousing services to accelerate vaccine development.

A large agriculture company put into the cloud the vast amounts of data it had accumulated on improving equipment maintenance and used advanced analytics to generate insights that became the basis for a new business offering to growers.

CIOs need to master cloud economics and target business areas that can benefit from the cloud’s advantages of speed, flexibility, and scale. As importantly, they need to consider how to make the large-scale changes to IT’s operating model that are needed to build the capabilities to generate new value. Fewer than 10 percent of technology leaders, however, say they are most focused on hiring cloud talent, placing it at the bottom of hiring priorities. That’s a red flag, especially considering that almost 50 percent of CIOs plan to migrate more than three-quarters of all workloads to the cloud in the next two years.”

 

The term artificial intelligence was coined by Dartmouth math professor John McCarthy in 1955.

 

AI will continue to improve and become ubiquitous in the year 2022. Even the most rudimentary of businesses are utilizing AI devices connected to nearly everything and using AI in:

  • Voice Assistants
  • Smart TVs
  • Smart Whiteboards
  • Language Translation
  • Mobile Devices
  • Robotic Process Automation

Companies using AI devices accumulate tremendous amounts of customer data. This well of information just then needs to be categorized and analyzed for pro-growth decisions based on real-time data. 2022 will see a dramatic jump in the utilization of AI due to the higher speeds available through the widespread adoption of the 5G network.

Before rushing out to buy the latest and greatest in AI technology, it’s a good idea to do some research or delegate an IT innovation team to do some preliminary homework. Become familiar with the capabilities of the technology and ensure it aligns with the mid-range and long-term strategy of your organization.

In a Harvard Business Review (HBR) article first published in 2018, Thomas Davenport and Rajeev Ronanki wrote about the importance of understanding which technologies perform what types of tasks, and the strengths and limitations of each. They write, “we encountered several organizations that wasted time and money pursuing the wrong technology for the job at hand.”

Since many organizations, even large enterprise companies, can lack the necessary in-house expertise to evaluate new and emerging technologies, it’s necessary for business leaders to work closely with IT to identify the right consultants to advise on high-priority projects.

Davenpot and Ronanki found that nearly a majority of cognitive technology projects had to do with robotics and automation. Business leaders have two schools of thought when it comes to automation. Some see automation as a way to eliminate full-time employees while others see it as a way to automate menial tasks in order to make better use of its people.  Amazon for instance has been looking at ways for its people to devote more time to building new products. The Hands Off the Wheel program began in the retail management division to develop ways for machine learning to handle repetitive mundane work such as keeping its gigantic warehouses stocked with products to sell.

When companies make it clear that they are using AI to help people rather than replace them, they significantly outperform companies that don’t set that objective (HBR).

Alex Kantrowitz, author of ALWAYS DAY ONE: HOW THE TECH TITANS PLAN TO STAY ON TOP FOREVER (Portfolio, 2020), writes in an article for Harvard Business Review, that Amazon’s transition to Hands Off the Wheel took years to roll out and a great deal of training. “The retail-division employees were despondent at first, recognizing that their jobs were transforming. Yet in time, many saw the logic. ‘When we heard that ordering was going to be automated by algorithms, its like, ‘OK, what’s happening to my job?’”

According to Kantrowitz, Amazon didn’t implement this program to reduce headcount but rather free up personnel to invent and oversee new product development.  Kantrowitz makes an essential point: “Had Amazon eliminated those jobs, it would have made its flagship business more profitable but would have missed the next new business opportunity.

Amazon has about 350,000 mobile drive unit robots working alongside hundreds of thousands of humans employed at fulfillment centers.

 

Entrepreneurship and seizing opportunities through leverage are at the heart of Amazon’s raison d’être. At no other time in history has it been as easy, fast, and inexpensive to start a new business. Amazon’s view is that it is a facilitator of entrepreneurship, providing the investment, platform, and resources to help build new businesses.

Amazon first opened its online shelves to small businesses in 2000. In 2018, the company created an internal Small Business Empowerment team. In a press announcement, CEO Dave Clark said, “We made the decision to open our store’s virtual shelves to third-party sellers. At the time, big-box retailers had been pushing small businesses out of the retail market. We bet that bringing selling partners into our store would not only be a win for customers who want vast product selection, low prices, and fast delivery, but it would also be a win for small businesses wanting to reach more customers, increase revenue and profits, and create good jobs.”

The number of US sellers who surpassed $1 million in sales grew another 15%. Kantrowitz concludes, “If Amazon is any indication, businesses that reassign employees after automating their work will thrive.”

A recent Forrester study shows that technology leaders will focus on human-centered technology transformations. Indicating that less than 15% of firms nominated digital transformation as a priority in 2022, the report suggests leading firms will use emerging technology to unlock the creativity of their employees and drive innovation that focuses on outcomes, not just financial results.

Subscription-Based Technologies

The trend of “______ as a Service” technologies has exploded in the past few years. 2022 will see more of this trend – for several good reasons.

Subscription-based business technologies:

  • don’t force you to buy more than you are using
  • are cost-effective
  • are easily scalable up or down
  • are flexible to match market fluctuations
  • can be deployed easily and quickly

Maybe the best part about subscription-based technologies is the zero-coding needed to utilize them. You don’t have to have an in-house IT team. These technologies come pre-built and can integrate easily with other technologies in use within your business. In addition, because the technologies are virtual (in a cloud environment), your business has less exposure to cyber risk and a higher level of business continuity readiness.

Compliance Technologies

The more data that a company creates and gathers from the public, the greater their social responsibility becomes for the protection and use of that data. Whether your company needs to have transparency, governance, and accountability regarding data to protect your brand or you have legislative and industry-standard compliance mandates to adhere to, the technologies revolving around compliance are here to stay and will be growing throughout 2022. These new compliance technologies will help streamline your compliance efforts, minimizing the effort and money expended on compliance concerns.

 

Employee Wellness and Retention Technologies

The pandemic has brought a wave of resignations and shuffling of employees from one company to another. Business leaders are looking to technology to make employment at their organization more attractive to prospective – and current – employees. This desire to improve working conditions for employee retention has resulted in the utilization of many technologies. These advancements range from wearables that help employees monitor wellness for a work/life balance to new features built into ergonomic forms that reduce stress and improve employees’ workday in repetitive motion tasks.

Other considerations regarding employee wellness and retention technologies are tech that improves communication and collaboration on tasks and incorporates that “water cooler” chat function lost in the social distancing and work-from-home exodus of 2020.

By using tech to reincorporate that human connection into the virtual workplace, companies are helping to give their employees more of a sense of camaraderie and belonging – rather than isolation.

 

In Conclusion:

Your business, like many others, is reliant upon technology to maintain your competitive edge. It’s important to know what technologies other companies are leveraging – both within your industry and the broader marketplace. But knowing that other companies are having success with or planning on implementing game-changing tech within their organizations isn’t enough. Companies that take decisive action will face the fast-paced challenges of the next few years much better than those that are more cautious. Combine strategic planning with bold decision-making as you prioritize your technology objectives for the next 12 months. You must have a trusted IT partner to vet those technologies and advise you about their potential ROI within your particular business.

2022 is shaping up to be a year of both promise and uncertainty, but one thing is sure: companies that build a platform to embrace new tech within their workflow will have an advantage out of the starting gate.

 

Moving to the Cloud is an Essential Strategy for 2022

While not the magic bullet that solves all your operational problems, moving to the cloud forms the foundation of building a solid technology platform.

Businesses that took the opportunity to remake and future-proof their infrastructure and workforce during the pandemic will continue to pull ahead of the competition. As we move into 2022, it becomes imperative for companies to move to the cloud to accomplish two strategies:

  • Be agile and flexibly prepared for the unexpected
  • To Take advantage of emerging AI-enabled digital technologies

These two objectives mean large-scale changes to IT’s operating model. The more technology-savvy people in the company should take the lead in understanding what moving to the cloud would mean for the company. Target specific business areas and look at how having workflows on the cloud benefits operations through increased speed, flexibility, and scale, which are the standard hallmarks of having operations in a cloud environment.

Speed, Flexibility, & Scalability

If you want to deliver digital capabilities anywhere and everywhere, consider how the IronOrbit ecosystem uses the core capabilities of cloud computing to provide scalable and elastic IT-related capabilities. Our teams of engineers and business visionaries have taken the complexity out of migrating your environment to the cloud, so you benefit from faster time to value and reduced costs.

The improvements in productivity and efficiency can generate significant cost savings over time; however, the actual benefit delivery is optimizing IT functions. You’ll be doing things you’ve always done, but you’ll be doing them better, and your operations will be much more resistant to disruptions.

Introducing IOCentral

Our new automated self-service portal, IOCentral, delivers a fast and easy way to scale storage, networks, databases, and computer functionality. An intuitive interface allows you to scale business functions more quickly by connecting essential software and microservices. Using AI-enabled technology, IOCentral enables flexibility and comprehensive ecosystem management from one pane of glass.

Speed, flexibility, scalability, and reduced costs indeed represent long-term value, but those in and of themselves do not convey the urgency for moving to the cloud. For that, we need to look further ahead.

The Bigger Business Benefit of Moving to the Cloud

Taking full advantage of your move to the cloud means looking at the new possibilities available to your business because now your business is part of the global cloud ecosystem. The cloud now becomes a catalyst to build new capabilities and value propositions for your customers.

This larger prize focuses on building innovative practices, new sources of revenue, and learning from the unique knowledge flows that will inspire leadership, not IT, to create new digital value propositions for your customers.

Without the cloud, leadership will never be able to enter the competitive arena of 2022 and beyond, let alone have the possibility to innovate new products and services.

The Cloud Delivers All IT Services, Apps, and More.

 

Be ready to use new digital technologies and stay ahead of change. Call now for a proof-of-concept of how IronOrbit can prepare your business for sustained success.

Call us today at 888-753-5060

 

Roadblocks to Scaling Up
Scaling Up: 13 Roadblocks to Success
Scaling up is the ability to take on increased workloads in a cost-effective manner and meet the demands of your business without suffering the negative consequences of overreaching.

Scaling up sounds like a fantastic idea. After all, who wouldn’t want to be able to handle more work, delivering more goods and services while leveraging economies of scale for greater profitability?

But the promise of scaling is often like an iceberg. What you see above the water (the work to be done) is nothing compared to the work lurking under the water. These are the challenges faced in scaling a business. Some companies get to a point where it is painful to add another client or bring on more talent. Scaling up seems like piling on more overhead for less reward. Revenue never has a chance to turn into profits.

Here are some barriers many companies may face as they ramp up their operations.

Scaling Up Too Soon

A good question to ask a good business consultant is, Is it too soon to grow the business? Any time before you have all the pieces in place and a strategy to scale is too soon. Is the market is ready to embrace and demand your products or services? Timing is everything. First, to go big into the market is sometimes a good idea, but sometimes not. Companies get eaten alive and never recover.

No Plan to Scale Up

Often the small to mid-size business fails in the efforts to scale for lack of planning. They have an objective and a vague notion of how to get there. Growth-minded companies might partner with that vendor or hire new employees.  But all too often, a structured plan is missing. Having a strategy that guides the requirements, stages, and timeline for scaling is foundational for success. As a result, the timing is off, and the company is missing pieces of the puzzle. Frustration and failure soon follow.

No Understanding of the Difference Between Growth and Scaling

For most successful companies, growth came before scaling up. Taking time to grow allows SOPs to be established and perfected. Taking the time to grow enables hiring key people and building a solid reputation. These things are critical for financial backing to scale. Growth is a time to experiment and approve or discard strategic partners and vendors. Growth helps them understand the management and IT resources required for successful scaling. Multiplying processes and output without a substantial increase in resources is the foundation of scalability. Business leaders need to know if the company is prepared to scale up.

Unnecessary or Untimely Product/Service Additions

As soon as a company begins to have a little bit of success in their efforts to scale, they often become overzealous with their efforts to take over the marketplace.

They may move away from their core business too quickly and begin advertising products and services they are not prepared to deliver. Even if they can make a dollar on those tangential goods and services, they are taking resources away from what is central to their current revenue stream and their ability to scale.

Selecting the Wrong Partners & Vendors

Companies across the planet have learned the wrong partners or vendors can put companies at risk. Long supply chains and unproven vendors can have detrimental consequences on the delivery of goods and services to your customers, as well as injure brand reputations.

Avoid vendors and strategic partners who over promise and under deliver. There is no room for freeloading. Everyone has to do their part.

 

Lack of Internal Communication

Employees need to know the company culture and what is expected. Companies need complete buy-in from their workforce to scale up successfully. There also must be a strategy communicated internally. Along with the nuts and bolts of your well-laid strategy is a minefield of employee concerns, expectations, and emotions that you must address. If employees feel left out of the loop – or worse, insecure in their jobs – they will not be best positioned to support scaling efforts. Internal communication requires more than just a company-wide meeting or a series of internal memos sent out to senior staff. Instead, the business leaders must keep their finger on the pulse of how the staff is acclimating to the proposed and in-progress changes.

 

Internal Communication and Planning
Verne Harnish’s book Scaling Up shows how to improve scalability. Scalability requires putting the right team together and then educating them on the growth strategies of the company. Articulate a clear vision for meeting future goals regularly.

Apple's founder Steve Jobs showcases Apple's latest laptop.

 

The last decision Steve Jobs made was to build Apple University.

He knew that it would be the one legacy he’d leave behind so that his organization would thrive long after he was gone.

Cutting Prices

Once you’ve been able to leverage some economies of scale, there is often a temptation to cut prices to undercut the competition and gain more market share. “After all,” you think, “We’re still making the same amount on our goods/services.” While it’s tempting to cut your prices and try to push the competition out of business, the money you will lose is better saved and utilized within your scaling efforts.

Technology That Can’t (or Can’t Easily) Scale-Up

Whether you’re working with legacy systems that keep your productivity limited, or you’re working with on-site workstations and servers that are expensive and cumbersome to scale, your technology is limiting your potential. This roadblock used to be a nearly insurmountable one for businesses trying to scale on a budget. However, with advances in cloud-based IT infrastructure and Desktop as a Service, the financial hurdle considerations are lowered due to the cloud’s ability to scale with your business expansion. Companies across the planet have factored cloud computing ability into their scaling strategy and are successfully leveraging the flexibility, mobility, and cost-effective nature of cloud workflow assets.

As an IBM fellow, Jason McGee puts it, migrating applications to the cloud can deliver significant business benefits for companies of all sizes.

Failing to Create Long-Term Demand

Business leaders that fundamentally misunderstand the role of advertising and marketing often pin their hopes of scaling on the stop-and-go stutter-step of marketing efforts. While marketing strategy should always be a part of your scaling endeavor, it is not sufficient on its own to supply continuous, qualified customers. Instead, part of any scaling strategy should be a plan to grow market demand for your products/services. After all, you want them knocking on your door for what you provide; you don’t want to be chasing work constantly with ad campaigns.

Cash Flow and Credit

There is no way around it, scaling requires sufficient cash flow. Many organizations with a fantastic plan to scale launch that endeavor, only to find that their efforts are stymied by lack of on-hand cash or credit. In a recent episode of “What’s Up AEC?!” the Immediate Past Board Chair of ACEC National, Charles Gozdziewski warns about the cash flow aspect of scaling up too quickly. “I’ve seen small firms suddenly become part of a big project. They go from 10 people to 25 people and then they go bankrupt. They just don’t have the financing or financial knowledge to handle it.”

Each stage of your scaling strategy will require more financial backing, and that backing must be available at that stage or things begin to unravel. Setting yourself up for success requires ensuring that you will have the backing you need well in advance of your step to the next level of operational expansion.

Yellow Chair amongst rows of blue chairs.
Scaling up starts and ends with individuals. Make sure you have the right people in the right seats.
Quality Employees Instead of Quantity

Scaling starts and ends with individuals. Whether you are in a service industry or manufacture goods, your employees can make or break your scaling prospects. As much as anything else, scaling requires the right beliefs and behavior. Growth-oriented companies need people who are comfortable with change, who can move fast, and take ownership of tasks. In the rush to scale, companies often hire too quickly and find that they experience internal roadblocks to productivity because of the unqualified staff they’ve hired. Unfortunately, companies that are quickly ramping up delivery of goods and services often don’t have time for extensive employee training or the flexibility for employees to learn “on the job.” A resourceful HR team should be among your first hires to help ensure that your business sources and hires employees that can step in and do the work without handholding.

Ignoring Growth Pains and Fixating on Growth Pains

Whether leadership is determined not to let that “one issue” hold things back or fixate on that “one issue” to the detriment of other things that require attention, it still lands the administration in a difficult spot. On the one hand, small issues at one stage of scaling can become mountains of pain in the next stage of expansion. On the other, a fixation with a specific issue can lead to an unhealthy overemphasis on one aspect of the business, throwing everything out of kilter.

To scale, you must be aware of growing pains and be able to handle them appropriately without devoting all your attention and resources to those problems.

Micromanagement

Organizations with micromanagers at the top very often do not do well when it comes to scaling up operations. Delegating responsibility is an essential component of scaling an enterprise. A business leader must know their self well enough to see this tendency in themselves before it becomes an issue that derails the scaling process. Sometimes, it’s necessary to step into a different leadership role and allow someone that has delegation skills to fill that administrative slot. As you scale, so should your management structure. Finding the right role for you to play and bringing in the people you need to bolster your weaknesses is a sign of a good leader.

 

In Conclusion

 

Despite significant roadblocks to developing capacities to scale up quickly, there are multiple benefits for an organization to prepare itself for the likelihood of scaling up.

The challenges of scaling up are complex because scalability isn’t just about growth. It also has to do with its ability to be flexible, agile, and versatile. The same things that position the business for expansion are the same things that prepare them for unknown shifts in the market and unforeseen events like a worldwide pandemic. Preparedness is all about becoming proactive and being strategic with digital technology.

In a Forbes article from March 1, 2021, Paolo Gallo and Giuseppe Stigliano write, “Because of the dizzying speed of change today, fueled by this umpteenth acceleration, companies can’t count on their strengths alone to innovate. The CEO of a mobility services company reminded us how crucial it is at this stage to build eco-systems, resisting the temptation to reduce them to ego-systems. We have to collaborate with third parties to build systems in which the individual parts function as a single entity, in a more or less continual way to provide high-value-added services to final customers. Companies have to see themselves as fluid platforms, capable together of providing a value proposition that is exponentially bigger than what they could offer alone.”

In one of our previous blogs, we stressed the importance of componentization as a key ingredient to offering new digital value propositions. Taking the time to componentize offerings and build a solid digital foundation for your company will also position it for agility, flexibility, and growth.

The in-depth Deloitte Insights article, Putting Digital at the Heart of Strategy, goes beyond pointing out that digital transformation enables new growth opportunities. It indicates that those companies that don’t digitize in the next five years will be doomed.

Digitizing operations, a key benefit of cloud computing, improves an organization’s ability to meet sudden increases (or decreases) in demand.