To say we live in uncertain times would be a colossal understatement. There is barely any industry not oversaturated with products. From smartphones to SaaS software, we are inundated with options. This sparks the question, how can a company thrive when both competitors are clawing for market share and new startups are rapidly emerging? 

The sight of a market crowded with sellers might seem frightening at first, but it certainly does not mean all hope is lost. Richard Lazazzera, an entrepreneur, once said, “Saturation means strong demand”. The fact that so many companies manage to thrive and leave their mark showcases that, regardless of the circumstances, there is always a way out. So, what separates the winners from the losers here? 

Why Scalability Matters

Imagine you run a hotdog stand. While at a local ball game, someone takes a perfectly timed photo of you and your stand and lo, it goes viral! Suddenly, people are queuing up in line around the corner. Consequently, you run out of a day’s worth of buns and dogs within an hour. Faced with the inability to keep up with demand, you are forced to close. 

You had no idea how many sales you could make, how much supply would be required and how many hands it would take to serve that spike in demand. The situation can also go the other way. You open up far too many hotdog stands only to find the demand was already met. That is the scalability problem in a nutshell and it applies to just about any enterprise.

Ignoring market realities, or, being unprepared for them can do your business in. For instance, even though Nokia had singularly invented the modern cellular network, the launch of the smartphone took them off guard. Thinking their sheer brand strength could carry them through, they launched various products including the “iPhone killer” in 2010 only to see its market share fall 90 percent by 2016.

Likewise, Kodak, once the name in photography filed for bankruptcy in 2012. Their closure followed the introduction of digital cameras they could not keep up with. Ironically, Kodak came out with the first digital camera in 1975. It was not introduced because management feared the disruption it would have on the film market it dominated. 

On the other hand, IBM is a great example of remaining scalable and nimble in the face of changing conditions. The company was once known for their mainframes and personal computers (which it still does), but it scaled to cover IT guru for business problems that it now dominates. 

These examples are far more relevant today as companies face a larger, more fluid market than ever before. Remote competitors, sudden changes in the technological and cultural landscape require companies to keep their ears to the ground and ready to change not only their strategic direction but their cultural attributes as well.

How Postmodern IT Helps Businesses Remain Highly Scalable

Even though IBM managed to make the transition to its existing state, a little-known fact is that it took them 10 years to do so. The objective of modern CTOs and CIOs is to ensure their organizations adapt to changing conditions quickly and efficiently… Does the term digital transformation ring a bell? 

Most companies today have an ERP at its core built around standardized (extremely rigid) practices and use cases rendering them an ill fit for a highly dynamic market. While moving to a cloud-based ERP or even opting for a best-of-breed approach are viable methods to remain competitive, why settle for either when you can have the best of both? 

Cloud ERPs are certainly a step above on-premise in terms of flexibility, update/upgrade cycles and cost reduction. Opting for a SaaS-only approach can result in higher productivity and greater satisfaction. Once you have decided to go with cloud, another major factor to keep in consideration is having an integration-friendly platform. As operations change, you need to have the flexibility to select the integrations that meet your requirements. Some ERP providers claim their cloud hosting has all the certified integrations to run your business (i.e. e-commerce add-on, WMS, payroll add-ons, etc.). This certified selection of integrations, however, might be extremely limited. What if your business needs to specifically integrate to Shopify, for example, but the hosting does not support it?

That is why you should look for an open and flexible solution for cloud deployment right from the beginning of shopping for an ERP. The postmodern movement was partly motivated by changing market conditions and the emergence of tools that addressed them. As organizations proceed with the assumption that growth is inevitable, its success lies in the ERP’s ability to handle ever-increasing data and flexibility. 

With monolithic ERP, enterprises had to predict demand and keep the redundant capacity at hand to serve it. This meant allocating budget and IT resources to maintain a piece of software that remains unused. Should the need for surplus capacity never arise or if the company was to downsize, the excess capacity would still have to be maintained as mandated by the vendor’s licensing agreement. 

Postmodern strategies circumvent such limitations by leveraging competitive advantages offered by standalone products. They also come with powerful integration tools to make different on and off-premise apps work seamlessly together. Such a strategy allows for rapid deployment, but also for unprecedented scalability as enterprises have the flexibility to add/subtract capacity. Applications can be removed from a portfolio should better options present themselves. 

Concluding Thoughts

It can be argued that businesses were never averse to the importance of scalability. It is improbable to imagine the vast majority of seasoned (or savvy) business leaders putting their survival at risk by missing out on opportunities altogether. static IT resources that stymied agile work cultures and scalability may be the root cause behind the corporate inertia to change. 

With the arrival of postmodern architecture, companies (big and small) finally have an infrastructure with a strong base, but is also built around mobility. Companies can opt for guru that works for them and only pay for them when they are needed. 

Interested in learning more? Postmodern ERPs present numerous advantages that are hard to cover here. Feel free to give us a shoutout or leave a comment below if you have any questions or would like to share your views. We are always happy to help!