Experts Corner is tailored to highlight the experts in
their corresponding fields and their practical advice
for entrepreneurs on their journeys. Each newsletter
will feature one expert and they will get to share their
insight with the community.
This weeks expert in question is Alfonso
Pettis, President, TechZel, Inc. IT Consulting Inc. You
can get more acquainted with Alfonso by viewing his
profile on Linkedin
"Community Fund" with Pejman Dashtinejad,
is the role IT plays in a startup business scenario?
IT plays a major role in a startup business, such as
being able to stay agile and competitive at the same
time. There are various considerations a startup needs
to take when starting a business. A startup would need
to consider if it is planning on staying small, medium
or large. The reasoning behind this is that as an
organization is growing either organically or through
acquisitions scalability won’t be much of a constraint.
If the startup is planning on remaining small and local,
then the principal(s) would not want to spend too much
time and resources on planning and making expenses in
acquiring hardware/software, but of course would want to
have sufficient and adequate hardware/software to be and
remain competitive, and have efficient and effective
processes in place.
An organization would benefit from looking at their
IT infrastructure from both a short-term and long-term
perspective much like business planning. However, the IT
planning should not be rigid, but be flexible to
accommodate changes/updates with little to no
interruption to the initial IT infrastructure. One of
the first things a business can undertake is a network
design which depicts a high-level overview of the IT
infrastructure will initially look like, and a long-term
overview of the IT infrastructure.
The network design is comprised of the following
• Prepare– A meeting with management and a
network designer/engineer to gather business
• Plan – Organize business & IT
requirements and align them together
• Design– Develop a high-level network design
of the IT infrastructure
• Implement– Startup implements the IT
• Operate–Startup goes live & starts to
operate the IT infrastructure
• Optimize– Make changes/improvements based on
base-line analysis & network performance
By performing the above it assists a startup
organization with aligning the business requirements
with technical requirements, while taking growth and
scalability into account. Acquiring hardware (computing
and networking) that can be upgraded by addition
additional modules is preferable, as this will minimize
the costs associated with replacing the majority of the
computing and networking equipment in the future as new
technology is being introduced, and old being
A startup does not want to purchase more
hardware/software and put together an IT infrastructure
that is going to be a constraint on its initial budget.
An organization also needs to decide whether it is going
to have dedicated hardware or employ virtualization.
Virtualization does have it benefits, such as running
multiple operating systems and applications on one
server; also by taking advantage of virtualization an
organization can save in energy consumption, and
administration costs. However, virtualization can have
its drawbacks if it is not implemented and managed
correctly; it can be complex to pinpoint problems when
they arise; also, virtualization can be a disadvantage:
single-point of failure if
redundancy/failback/clustering is not setup
other technologies should startups take into account?
Other technologies a startup should take into account
• Email system
• Remote access/wireless access
• Data storage/date recovery/security
• Software licensing and tracking
• Software/anti-virus/spyware updates&patches
A startup would need to evaluate an email system that
runs on a server based system which the organization is
planning on implementing, and that can be scaled based
on the plan of the organization. The startup may not
have immediate requirements to offer remote and/or
wireless access, but if there are plans to grow the
business, it would be a good idea to incorporate this
into the long-term IT infrastructure design. How
data/information is going to be
stored/accessed/recovered is a major concern for any
business whether it be startup, small, medium, or large;
knowing how data is going to be
stored/accessed/recovered ahead of time can alleviate
and/or reduce downtime in case of a system crash, and
also a startup wants to have procedures and policies in
place as to who can access what data/information.
Licensing software and tracking it are essential as
well, because an organization wants to stay compliant
and not run afoul licensing and piracy issues and laws.
By having operating systems, and anti-virus/spyware
updated with the latest updates and patches, computer
systems can not only run more efficiently, but also
reduce system vulnerabilities, such as security holes
and new virus/spyware from being introduced and
infecting computer systems and possibly even propagating
throughout the network.
IT plays a significant role in a startup; whether a
startup is home based, small, medium, or large. Being
able to align the business requirements with IT
infrastructure are essential and require skilled IT
professionals that have both technical, business,
consulting skills. A combination of these skills are
required because such an individual should be able to
communicate with people at various levels of an
organization on take into account high-level and details
of what is required to take the network design from
concept –to- implementation –to-
Thank you Alfonso!
Stay tuned for the next Experts Corner in two weeks
with a new expert and topic!
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