Tag: cloud migration

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.

The Cloud Ecosystem Economy
Today’s Cloud Ecosystem Economy and Why it is Important to Understand

 

Like it or not, we are living, no….thriving, in a cloud ecosystem economy and there is no turning back.

What is a Cloud Ecosystem Economy?

Just as a biological ecosystem consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact, the cloud ecosystem is a complex system of increasingly interdependent components all working together. The cloud ecosystem economy is the great catalyst that levels the playing field for all businesses. This is an explosive ecosystem that expands the reach and scope of every business that taps into it. It has also increased the power of the individual and made available vast amounts of knowledge flows. That’s one of the reasons why Rene Buest’s, article How Tech CEOs Participate in Ecosystems, describes this phenomenon as a continually evolving ecosystem that forms the basis of innovative digital solutions and products. It’s why Jeanne Ross prescribes cloud services as the foundation for all digital offerings; thereby become the bedrock for digital transformation.

It is true to say that the Cloud is just someone else’s computer. That is one way to think about it, but it’s far from presenting the whole story. What cloud technology makes possible goes considerably beyond computing capabilities. We’re talking about many kinds of immense databases and knowledge flows the cloud taps into. We’re talking about synergy and exponential growth (see Moore’s Law).

Imagine if you owned a business at the beginning of the 20th Century and hadn’t yet adopted telephone technology. How long could you have remained competitive in such an environment? While business leaders don’t need to understand the ins and outs of the technology, they must understand how the technology impacts the future of their business.

In a recent report, the data analysis company Ecosystem cites three reasons CEOs need to get involved in and have visibility into an organization’s cloud investment.

 

Chart showing the top reasons business leaders are moving their IT environment to the cloud.
A study from Ecosystem, a technology data, and analysis company, showed the main cloud benefits sought by companies considering cloud migration.
Cloud Enables Transformation

Enterprise companies have matured in their Cloud adoption. Decisions are no longer driven by the benefits of shifting Cloud from CapEx to OpEx. The top 3 Cloud benefits sought by companies are

1. Improved Service Levels & Agility 
2. Increased Work Process Efficiency
3. Flexibility & Scalability 

The idea is that the Cloud Ecosystem is a group of technologies and resources that empower infrastructure and open the doors to a world of digital value propositions not yet imagined. The Cloud Ecosystem is an enabler of doing business, real-time data access for productivity increase, and process automation. This impacts the entire organization and involves prioritizing the needs of certain functions over others. These are not decisions the CIO should make alone.

The Cloud is Not Cheap

Cloud adoption may not reduce costs. Ecosystem360 found that over a third of the organizations surveyed find the Cloud more expensive than traditional licensing or owning the hardware. As businesses use the Cloud to scale, several aspects are dynamic and require constant reassessment. In many cases, companies have found themselves having to find and recruit new teams to manage and maintain the Cloud environment. This is not an issue with IronOrbit. Because IronOrbit offers an all-inclusive solution, you don’t have the high, unexpected, added cost of third-party IT resources. Instead, you get a predictable monthly fee.

Joining the Cloud Ecosystem Gives You Access to Emerging Technologies

Tom Wujec is a fellow at AutoDesk and a global leader in 3-D design, engineering, and entertainment software. He said, “When any industry becomes computable, it goes through a series of predictable changes: It moves from being digitalized to being disrupted to being democratized.”

The Democratization of Disruptive Technologies

While it is true the technology and business world is disruptive; it is also becoming increasingly democratized. The Cloud Ecosystem is a principle conveyor of new technology adoptions. Companies have to be a part of the Cloud Ecosystem to leverage emerging technologies (democratization) or face disruptions from competitors who beat them to the Cloud. Returning to the Ecosystem article, “Cloud is no longer only required for infrastructure and back-up, but improving business processes, by enabling real-time data and systems access. Similarly, IoT devices will grow exponentially.

The Cloud Ecosystem Economy was well on its way before the recent pandemic, which only further accelerated the use of cloud-based solutions. The Ecosystem findings suggest Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) will remain the key area of focus, especially Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS).

“The gap between science-fiction and science is getting narrow now,” said Andrew Hessel, a former research scientist at AutoDesk and now co-chair of Bioinformatics and Biotechnology at Singularity University. “As soon as soon as someone has an idea and articulates it, it can be manifested in a very short period.”

The Cloud Ecosystem has left the purview of the IT department and is now part of the board room discussions. Technology is no longer just a point solution. It is a collaboration between humans and machines because, with the help of the Cloud Ecosystem, business leaders can understand the whole range of viable possibilities beyond what any human mind can comprehend on its own. It is time to take advantage of what’s possible. Be inspired by technology and what it can do to increase value to your customers.

Business leaders recognize that taking advantage of the Cloud Ecosystem Economy is about creating a platform for efficiency, innovation, and growth. In a 2021 Harvard Business Review Survey amongst CEOs, 87% said that Cloud would be a critical component to achieving sustainability goals to a moderate or significant degree. The article also reported that only 37% of C-level executives had fully achieved the outcomes they expected from their cloud initiatives. Rene Buest reports, “Only about 3 in 10 CEOs reported complete confidence in their organization’s cloud migration initiatives to deliver expected value at the expected time.

Many variables come into moving legacy systems into the Cloud. There are many pitfalls on the way to cloud migration. Certainly, a big part of the challenge is having the skills on hand to take advantage of the Cloud. More often than not, companies can be so eager to take advantage of what cloud technology offers that leadership makes their choice on price and expediency alone. It looks like a good deal at the moment and they go for it without regard to how it will fit with their company.

Don’t make the same mistake. IronOrbit offers comprehensive, professionally managed services for a predictable monthly fee. We build it for you so that it works. You don’t need to wonder if you have the right skills in-house to make full use of it. At the same time, you’ll have all the flexibility and control that you want.

We invite you to check out our INFINITY Workspaces demo and then do your own proof-on-concept.

Call Today 1-888- 753-5060

Increased Productivity and Collaboration is the real reason why AEC firms work with IronOrbit
The Reason Why AEC Firm MSA Partnered with IronOrbit

 

If there was a silver lining to the COVID pandemic, it exposed vulnerabilities in the way companies operate their business. As lockdowns and work-from-home orders spread across the country, companies scrambled for their employees to effectively work remotely.

MSA Professional Services, a 350-employee-owned civil engineering and environmental firm located across four states, was one such company. You might see their work as you drive past a park, a reservoir, or a public activity center. Satellites orbiting Earth record the environmental and community impact of their thoughtfully designed works from outer space.

MSA’s work requires real-time collaboration with project managers or contractors in the field. Management has known that conventional application delivery and desktop management technologies wouldn’t keep up with growing demands.

Months before anyone had even heard of COVID-19, the MSA leadership was looking at the best way for them to migrate their IT environment to the cloud. Like sculptors chiseling away at a block of marble, the process began to reveal what the right cloud design should look like. Leadership knew they needed control of their information. They needed their data to be secure, and, perhaps most importantly, their engineers needed to work on heavy-duty 2D and 3D files on resource-hungry applications from home.

IronOrbit solved the problems of end-user performance with GPU-Accelerated INFINITY Workspaces. Whether it’s fifty users or a thousand, engineers enjoy an even better and more highly responsive experience than they’d get from a high-end physical workstation. Since scalability is built into the design, MSA found that adding or subtracting users was not an issue.

SUPERIOR TECHNOLOGY RESULTS IN A SUPERIOR SERVICE

An essential aspect of IronOrbit’s delivery of high performance at scale is the use of NVIDIA RTX™ Technology, powering the most demanding design, rendering, and engineering workloads from the cloud . This technology delivers rapid deployments of virtual applications and workspaces. MSA engineers can view and work with large 2D and 3D models with efficiency and increased productivity.

“WE NEED MORE CONTROL & SECURITY” – MSA Leadership

As these specific requirements came into focus, it narrowed their field of view as they considered different cloud service providers. Because of the level of control they wanted, together with the necessity for tight security, they knew they were looking for a private cloud approach.

But not just any private cloud.

The delivery of services from the end user’s perspective had to be fast and seamless with no latency or drag of any kind. There’s nothing worse for a designer or engineer than working on a modern app like AutoCAD or Revit, being in the home stretch of finalizing a project, and having to deal with jumpy, erratic responses from a mouse or a stylus pen.

…AND ONE MORE THING

To make the challenge even more interesting, many engineers live in rural areas with sub-standard internet connections.

Senior Systems Engineer Mike Albitz led a series of proof-of-concept drills with IronOrbit’s INFINITY Workspaces when the pandemic erupted. “When the pandemic broke out, it escalated the whole process,” said Albitz. “When COVID-19 started, we were able to provide latency-free desktops to our engineers with slow home Internet connections using IronOrbit. This was an invaluable option to keep our teams productive.”

CLOSE COLLABORATION WITH CLIENTS MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE

During the process of moving to the cloud, there will be technical challenges that pop up from time to time. The key is to address them as quickly as possible. This requires close communication and transparency. Built on a genuine commitment to customer service, IronOrbit onboarding teams maintain a high-touch with clients throughout the process and beyond.

Good luck getting an actual person to answer a question if you’re using a public cloud. Close client support isn’t part of their “do-it-yourself on our platform” business model.

This may be true of other private cloud companies as well, but not with IronOrbit.

For us, the standard is one-on-one human contact availability 24/7.

WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG?

It’s important to know that public cloud providers do not come standard with recovery time objectives (RTO) or recovery point objectives (RPO). It’s an add-on cost. With public cloud services, many features will fall under the category of an add-on cost.

IronOrbit offers comprehensive packages for predictable monthly fees, including standard 48-hour RTO and 24-hour RPO.

STRATEGY LEADS TECHNOLOGY (CONCLUSION)

MSA leadership was ahead of the pack going into 2020, and they’re still leading the way in the industry. They knew that they wanted to move into the cloud, and they realized that it had to be a high-impact, custom cloud and hosted desktop solution designed with AEC processes in mind.

The IronOrbit team applauds the long-term vision of the MSA leadership. They anticipated their need for better application hosting solutions and embraced the future of AEC cloud computing – INFINITY Workspaces. MSA put the focus in the right place. They explored technology based on their business operations and growth objectives.

What about you?

How well are your designers and engineers doing with off-the-shelf work-from-home solutions?

Have you gotten into a cloud environment that hasn’t been architected specifically for GPU-heavy workloads?

Let us give you a virtual tour of the INFINITY Workstation and discover what go-anywhere design efficiency combined with granular control and security can do for your business.

 

Call us at 1-888-753-5060 for your free consultation today.