Starting a new business means there is no shortage of excitement and important decisions to be made to achieve your vision.
However, in the modern world, few things prove more crucial to get right than robust technology and telecommunications plans.
So, what key infrastructure decisions should promising startups weigh up sooner rather than later to avoid playing catch-up down the road?
Below, we’ve included twelve key considerations that the smartest start-ups need to consider from the off.
1. Cloud Hosting Vs. On-Site Servers
One of the first decisions to be made is whether you should opt for cloud hosting or on-site servers for your business.
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Working in the cloud offers startups welcome flexibility that some of their more established competitors may not be benefiting from.
The automation, consumption-based costs, and speed-of-updates cloud infrastructure offers help startups mimic industry giants but with more runway room still ahead to put their unique stamp on user experiences.
This is why most startups lean cloud-first, turning to infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platforms as their base foundations today over maintaining their on-site servers.
Still, some capabilities require localised performance or data protection best suited for on-premise equipment.
With this in mind, a hybrid option can often be best.
2. Planning For Multiple Cloud Providers
While fledgling companies often begin with a single cloud provider for easy setup, few operate on one platform forever.
To avoid being locked in or missing out on better capabilities elsewhere, startups should design their architecture to allow shifting between cloud providers when needed.
As needs grow, you’ll want the option to effortlessly transition cloud-based applications to on-site servers or reallocate workloads to different providers for better performance, reach or innovation.
3. Securing Collaboration For Distributed Teams
With teams now being more fluid with where they work from and remote work being common, getting collaboration security right early on is crucial.
Vet platforms that allow secure conferencing, cloud calling, messaging and file sharing to support productive employees regardless of where they are working.
Extend endpoint protections, access controls and data encryption evenly to remote users as if in the office.
Consistent security enabling a distributed workforce is key.
4. Readying Data Safeguards
Cyber security issues are on the rise, and external threats exist no matter how much good intent fortifies systems internally.
Wise startups build multi-layered cyber protection upfront rather than leave themselves exposed.
Begin readying data encryption, access governance, regular security audits and staff training from the beginning and build this as an integral part of your business.
Keep equally apprised of evolving regional data regulations like GDPR and industry rules that dictate protection standards.
Proactive data safety fosters trust and continuity when threats inevitably arise.
5. Scaling And Flexibility
However your architecture takes shape initially, we recommend you build in orchestration to scale capacity on-demand. Consider tools allowing you to shift workloads between endpoints to meet customer traffic patterns and usage spikes.
CDNs can balance some loads, while regional caches help localised needs.
Embedding flexibility from the outset for automated expansion is vital to serve users everywhere reliably.
6. Modular Architecture For Agility
Resist over-investing early on complex, hardwired platforms that prove burdensome to change later.
We know it can be tempting to splash out on something expensive in the hope that it will be transformative for your business, but instead, emphasise modular components integrated via well-documented APIs.
This allows adding capabilities without requiring full system replacements down the road. Prioritise portable APIs and containers to enable seamlessly swapping improved modules later by tapping wider innovator ecosystems over time.
7. Piloting Cutting-Edge Technology
Industry giants often lag in adopting the latest innovations given legacy systems.
However, startups can pilot cutting-edge tools before they become mainstream to maintain their advantage.
Test innovations like distributed ledgers, IoT edge networks, smart automation, robotics and AI to unlock game-changing productivity and customer experiences that others achieve much slower.
Of course, pair experiments with business priorities beyond pure technology churn.
8. Optimising Hybrid Workflows
As algorithms and robots swell on tech startup stages, the need to align both digital and human workflows only grows.
Invest in unified planning to spot capability gaps in staff skills or system tools needed from tech.
Assemble optimal workflow distributions between talent and automation built to allow each side continuous, aligned enhancement over time.
9. Tapping Specialised Innovation Networks
Industry leaders often have large in-house IT teams that smaller startups lack the resources to match.
But alternatives exist, allowing young ventures to shortcut innovations incumbents take years to replicate themselves.
Rather than recreate every software system and capability in-house, leverage purpose-built SaaS partnerships.
Best-of-breed providers offer ready-made solutions for the likes of payments, telephony, customer support, marketing automation, analytics and more now through simple subscription models.
Mature open APIs also ease stitching together complementary SaaS innovations from specialised providers.
This “Lego approach” lets startups snap together leading point solutions faster than integrated suites demanding all-or-nothing vendor lock-in.
Mixing and matching tailored SaaS pieces accelerates time-to-market and optimized differentiation beyond what limited internal-only capacity initially allows.
Later, as needs mature, reevaluating and replacing outsourced capabilities with customised systems is always on the table.
10. Telecommunications Readiness
Beyond pure IT infrastructure, startups must evaluate telephony, Internet/network connectivity, video conferencing, and unified workspace communication needs impacting distributed workforces.
Consider cloud calling plans allowing office phone extensions to employees anywhere with dynamic call routing, IVRs and virtual reception to maintain professional branding and call quality even when all remote.
Assess wide area network, LTE and 5G options to empower worker mobility with reliable wireless access from multiple devices and locations while keeping costs contained.
Unified communication platforms merging VOIP, team chat, document collaboration, and presence capabilities empower fluid work environments crossing geographical limits.
Prioritizing telecom integration into the technology stack powers dispersed workforces, rapid scaling, and competitive user experiences where consumer expectations demand integrated engagement.
11. Inclusion And Accessibility By Design
Make inclusion and accessibility part of the initial user experience vision rather than an afterthought. Guide designers to optimize interfaces for global abilities from day one.
Set standards ensuring websites, mobile apps, product designs, process automation and data systems enable fair, transparent access for diverse users across your ecosystems.
As a start-up, you will be buzzing with ideas and busy with a list of priorities. It’s important not to let your IT and telecommunication solutions slip to the bottom of that list.
The technology and telecommunications decisions you make in the founding phases shape how your business scales and adapts over time
We hope this article has helped to highlight the thought process you need to go through and the systems you need to get in place for smooth-running IT and telecommunications in your start-up.