Defining scale for online businesses in a world where everyone and everything is connected
What is scale? How is it defined?
How does it impact you as an online business?
How does hyperconnectivity impact scale?
Throwing more light on answers was Harish Menon, Associate Director - Global Market Development, Emerging Mobile Business, Akamai Technologies, whose work is at the core of the global mobile and online ecosystems.
“It’s common for scale to be seen in relation with capacity when it comes to online businesses. It’s often seen as going from a million users to a 100 million users. It’s seen as scaling from 10 million devices to a billion devices. It’s often about answering the question ’how do I enable an effective digital experience to millions of users’. Capacity is just a part of how you should actually define scale,” said Harish, speaking at TechSparks 2016.
The other three components of scale are reliability, speed, and security, he added.
“It’s not about the bandwidth, or the millions of users. It’s not just about the ‘x’ number of servers. It’s about being available to these millions all the time, in the fastest time possible and at the same time offering a secure experience,” he said.
A hyperconnected world
Simply put, hyperconnectivity is the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) or the ‘Internet of Everything’ according to some people. It’s simply the world we live in where everyone and everything is connected, says Harish.
Businesses of today build for users who check their office mails on an Android device while commuting to work on a busy Monday morning. Today’s customers are online, multi-tasking, on-the-go, and demanding.
This is in sharp contrast to life nearly a decade ago where you had to login to a PC, use a 512 kbps internet connection to do the very same things.
According to Harish , this hyperconnectivity will only increase and majorly impact the way you do business online. In time, customer demands are likely to increase and that’s why building a business to scale will also mean factoring in the criteria of hyperconnectivity into the product or service.
Sharing Akamai’s experience as a company that handles nearly 30 percent of the internet traffic, he said that people’s expectations have increased drastically. In just four years, between the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympics, there has been a 63% CAGR increase in traffic. Thus, scale is critical for online business for survival and growth
Doing business online in a hyperconnected world
“When you are building an online business, you don’t reach out to millions of users on Day 1. You don’t necessary have to live-stream high-resolution videos such as the FIFA World Cup to a billion users or make online sales to several thousands customers like Flipkart’s ‘Big Billion Day’ sale. But you build with an aim to reach this kind of scale. So as online business, this is the world you have to aim for and fight for,” said Harish.
According to him, traditional norms of scale do not factor in the hyperconnected world. Instead performance is what matters. “Making your site fast, reliable, and secure can improve your search ratings. Numerous studies have proved this. In fact, it is said that every 100 milli-second saved leads to a 1 percent increase in revenue,” he said.
Harish termed the fourth criteria – security – trickier and more challenging but still a critical aspect for online businesses. Cyber attacks have become more democratic – political hackitivism, cyber crimes, phishing, reflection attacks. He said the annual cost of cyber attacks globally is $575 billion and is growing 25 per cent every year.
Akamai helps businesses of all sizes, from enterprises to startups, to scale by enabling them to perform better online, shared Harish. At Akamai, he leads the efforts to define, execute and evangelise Akamai's mobile strategy across the globe, focusing on both mobile networks and content providers. In the past, he has been part of the team, that helped help organisations have high-performing, secure, and personalised web experiences on any device, anywhere.
He concluded his talk saying,
Expectations are enormous, but achievable.
A big shoutout to all our sponsors - Zendesk, Axis Bank, Sequoia Capital India Advisors , Digital Ocean, Microsoft, AWS, Akamai, Target, Verisign, Kerala Startup Mission, Brand Launch Centre, Tork and Blink.