Your startup needs IT resources – but which ones?

By Charles

May 19, 2016

business advice, business information, IT, it services

For such a simple question, ‘my startup needs IT resources, but what do I need’ there is no simple answer as it will depend on several variables, such as what type of business you have started.

The world is full of startups selling the next best thing, but not all startups are tech startups, which can leave some out in the cold regarding IT.

For those that are not, what should they be looking at to ensure their business can survive those treacherous first few years?

Is the ability to scale necessary?

Should the company be able to rise from the very beginning, or does that come later?

The above are all excellent questions, and IT can seem like a minefield.

Google Docs or Office 365?

On-premise or in the cloud?

All have pros and cons; none are explained to non-IT business owners.

What IT resources does your startup need?

IT Hardware

Do not buy hardware; rent it.

You may have read it is better to rent liabilities than it is to buy them. This usually applies to cars, but I think it is the same principle regarding IT resources.

When it comes to running a poor IT infrastructure, there are a few things that we like. The first is monthly subscription costs for Software.

Suppose you do not have much startup capital; spending less is better. There is no need to go out and purchase hardware for email and web servers when you can get precisely the same service with no massive upfront costs.

Worst comes to worst; then, you can cancel everything. Monthly subscriptions allow you to scale up and scale down in tough times.

This is undoubtedly a perk but does not worry about scaling until you have a proven product with customer feedback.

If you do buy on-premise hardware and software, you will have to pay someone to manage and maintain it. In IT, we tend to specialise in one particular field as those fields are now so large and the Software more complex than ever.

So you would need a database specialist to manage backend databases, a network engineer to control switches and broadband connections, and a unified communications engineer to look after VoIP, Instant Messaging and possibly email.

This means you need a whole team of people for something that is not your business’s profit-generating core.

Cloud-based services?

If you purchase a cloud-based service, it can be managed for you. This type of service is usually called Software as a Service or SaaS.

For example, Office 365 gives you to exchange email accounts. No, you looked after Hub Transport servers, Mailbox Servers or Client Access Servers. Bliss.

If your startup needs IT resources, at the very least, you will need a website and the ability to send and receive emails. This means buying a domain and setting up web hosting and email accounts.

This will allow you to be found and to communicate with the market. Setup can appear complex if you have not previously managed DNS (Domain Name Services).

Still, after the initial setup, management is as simple as creating a user and assigning a license. As a Microsoft partner, we use Office 365.

When you start, you need to concentrate on your product and get feedback early. You do not want to be troubleshooting and setting up servers and Software that you are not in the least bit familiar with.

Mobile App MVP

If you are creating a mobile app, you will want to start with an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). From here, you can get feedback and iterate through versions until you determine precisely what your customer wants.


So when it comes to ‘my startup needs IT resources’, we suggest keeping it simple, starting with only the necessary and then building up.

Use subscription services to keep costs down. Do not pay high upfront costs on IT. Only buy the services you need now: web hosting, email, and Office applications.

Money saved on upfront hardware costs will be better off spent on marketing.


About the author

Microsoft Certified SQL Server DBA with over a decades experience including work for large FTSE 250 companies amongst others. The SQL Server stack has been the focus of almost all of my career in IT. I have experience designing, supporting and troubleshooting large Data Platform deployments.

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