Growth: Sexy for the CEO, hard for the CIO

Growth can mean different things to different people. For the CEO, growth means more capital, more market share and more recognition. For the CIO, it means more people, processes and pressure.

More often than not, IT spending shrinks relative to the company’s growth. In context, this makes sense. When companies are growing at the speed of light, CEOs simply have to take advantage of the upward trajectory. This often means heavy investments in sales, distribution and product or service development.

But during these periods of intense growth, the CIO has to overcome a breathtaking amount of new challenges with resources that pale in comparison to the output required. It makes for a difficult time. But making it work reaps enormous benefits for everyone in the company.

More people

In effect, the number of people being served by the CIO grows faster than the CIO’s ability to serve them. It’s not that you’re just trying to keep the lights on. It’s that there isn’t enough time to hit all the switches.

An example: if you have twice as many people in the office, twice as many printers won’t solve your document problems. In fact, extra devices may mean extra complexity.

Small business processes, growing company needs

When companies grow, they don’t leave their inefficiencies behind. Their inefficiencies grow too. And what might have been a dull ache when you were a small company turns into a sharp pain when you’re a bigger one.

Too many steps in your invoicing workflow? That’s a problem when you have 30 customers – but it’s a potential disaster when you have 300.

A worrying lack of documentation

The lack of documented workflow and process design when you’re small makes it hard to monitor, enforce and improve the processes you do have in place. This can translate into haphazard workflows – unacceptable for a small IT organization.

Consider the case of how information flows through your organization. You might not know how inefficiencies are compounded when there’s no established process for managing, storing and sharing information.

In our experience, the key to making growth work is making sure process works. Ben Horowitz, former CEO of Opsware, articulates it well:

“The purpose of process is communication. If there are five people in your company, you don’t need process, because you can just talk to each other. With 4,000 people, communication becomes more difficult. You need something more robust—a communication bus or, the conventional term for human communication buses, a process.”

To learn more, see Ben’s post: Taking the Mystery out of Scaling a Company.

To find out how to use document management to make growth work, read our slideshare “4 things that work when you’re small – but not when you grow”, and visit

Subscribe to the Small Business Solutions Blog and receive updates when we publish a new article. [wysija_form id=”1″]

Share with your followers, in 1 click

Tweet: How to streamline your processes so you can grow with ease #workingbetter
Tweet: A new perspective on process: Why your processes are the key to successful growth #workingbetter
Tweet: Why your inefficiencies grow with your business – and how to stop that in its tracks. #workingbetter

Related Posts

Receive Updates

Post A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To see how we protect your personal data, view our Privacy Policy.