Hockey-stick growth can be an extremely exciting time for any startup, but it brings along multiple challenges. Building your company on a foundation of solid technology architecture that can scale up to meet increased workloads and demands is the only way to go.
Speaking at YS’s Future of Work 2021 event on Day One, Prashant Parashar, VP and Head -Technology, Snapdeal, spoke on what ecommerce startups needed to keep in mind while “scaling for the big billions”.
Startups must focus on and action multiple things while building their technology infrastructure.
On key decisions every startup needs to take about technology architecture, Prashant said it was “important to know early on what is relevant and not so relevant”.
The reason? Leaders may decide to reverse many decisions taken regarding the technology, and this can prove expensive in the long run for any organisation.
He advised young companies to create monolith systems rather than go for microservices. “One should start with a monolith system; it will then be easy to move into microservices.”
But, he stressed on the importance of keeping the entire technology stack simple and uniform across the organisation as it ensured smooth processes. “Please do not overload the system or experiment with unproven technology,” Prashant said.
Cloud services, security, and more
The ever-increasing number of smartphones and mobile devices that can access the internet has led to a surge in the adoption of cloud services. How can young startups make a choice when it comes to a cloud service provider?
The Snapdeal tech head said it was ideal to choose a partner who provided flexibility in terms of decoupling. The decoupled architecture ensures that the cloud service provider only manages the physical infrastructure, not the applications or data hosted on it.
One important aspect many startups miss in their early days is the archiving of data. Ignoring this and building it in later on will prove to be very expensive, which is why Prashant advocated a simple archiving and backup strategy to begin with.
With cyberattacks at an all-time high, it is vital to focus on ensuring cyber resiliency. Prashant said many startups in their early phase did not devote enough time on the security aspect.
“The culture of security needs to be instilled in your work culture, otherwise it is going to be a problem.”
He said the core of security is always going to be the people, and creating a mindset that facilitates this is very important within an organisation. “This becomes even more critical as many startups are internet-enabled,” he said.
“Identify what are the crown jewels in terms of data, and how you can instil a culture of security,” he added.
The rise – and rise – of data science and machine learning means startups are increasingly relying on these technologies to take decisions. “The deployment of ML and data science needs to be well engineered,” he said, adding that one should “be wary about scientists deploying engineering systems”.
Prashant said these technologies are still work in progress and there is a need to democratise machine learning within organisations.
Last but not the least, he advised engineering teams to keep a healthy balance between intuition and use of data. “Startups always need to have laser-sharp focus on customers,” Prashant said.
A big shout out to our Future of Work 2021 Co-presenting Sponsors Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Unique Solutions; Digital Excellence Partner, Google Cloud; Associate Sponsor HP and Intel; and Sponsors: Atlassian, Freight Tiger, Archon I Cohesity, TeamViewer, and Pocket Aces.