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Growing Up Without Growing Old: My Advice to Companies That Want to Remain Agile as They Attain Larger Scale

Ring Central Blog


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growing up without growing old “Oh, grow up!”

Sure, I’ve been told that a few times—most often by someone who doesn’t appreciate my sometimes youthful sense of humor. I usually respond that I’m actually a grown-up who’s in touch with the joyful traits of his inner child. Mixing a little childlike playfulness with the sophistication that comes with maturity keeps me inspired, engaged, and creative.

It’s the same for companies. As they scale up into large, efficient organizations, enterprises need to find a way to retain the agility and innovative spirit they had when they were small, nimble firms. By doing this, they combine the best aspects of large and small.

A key element to attaining this balance is picking the right technologies.

As a company grows, so too does its complexity, requirements, and challenges. The technologies a company’s IT department picks can either hinder this growth or accelerate it. These critical selections can also determine if a company maintains its agility, or is relegated to rigidity.

Grown-up priorities

Just as my priorities changed as I grew up, a company’s concerns shift as it scales up. Early in a company’s history, the focus is on innovation and functional delivery. As a company grows, the emphasis shifts to issues like cost reduction, maximization of investments, and efficiency.

For IT departments, this often means moving away from providing whatever hardware and software the users request and instead deploying solutions that yield the greatest efficiencies for the company. The best way to accomplish this is to adopt predictable and uniform solutions that promote efficiency with respect to cost, training, and time to market.

The greater the uniformity and predictability of IT assets worldwide, the more efficient a company is. New hires can be productive on their first days. Traveling and remote workers can move from location to location and have the same experience that they do at their home office.

Scale and balance

Enterprises that are scaling up face a trade-off between flexibility and efficiency, deciding how much of an appetite they have for each. So how can companies attain the best balance?

When it comes to communications, I believe the best choice for growing enterprises is a cloud communications platform, based on open standards and open APIs.

Efficiency and flexibility for everybody

On the efficiency side, centralized cloud services allow companies to deploy communications technology in multiple geographies with minimal effort and maximum productivity and uniformity.

On the flexibility side, an open cloud solution allows communications to be easily integrated into critical business processes, enabling automated workflows. This allows IT departments and third parties to rapidly roll out solutions that improve both employee productivity and customer satisfaction.

Furthermore, cloud communications systems allow companies to decide which technologies and services to provision to users based on the employees’ roles. This gives companies some flexibility when making the trade-off between attaining uniformity and giving users a choice of which technologies they can use.

The best of both worlds

By staying young at heart, I believe that I’ve managed to grow up without growing old. In a similar fashion, companies that leverage open cloud communications technology can maintain the flexibility of a small organization while achieving the efficiency of a large enterprise.

To learn more about how your organization can strike a balance between flexibility and efficiency, check out RingCentral’s on-demand webinar, “Plotting Your Course to Greater IT Uniformity and Predictability” and its corresponding white paper, “How an Open Cloud Communications Platform Streamlines Customer Service and Improves Customer Satisfaction.”

Originally published May 17, 2016, updated Oct 23, 2020

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