Why Is Scalability Important in Software Development?

software development

In the world of software development, we often talk about scalability being critically important. In a business world that’s always changing, there are plenty of reasons you need to consider scalability.

What is scalability?

Scalability refers to a piece of software’s ability to evolve, grow and change as your business does. Traditional software that lives on a server often requires a complete overhaul when changes are needed. Remember the old days of buying a new Microsoft Office CD-Rom every time they updated the program?

In the modern world, businesses need solutions that adapt quickly to their own needs, so that’s why scalability matters.

Software development without scalability

It’s true that not all software needs to be scalable. Many businesses have set requirements for their software, and they’re not likely to change. Unscalable software can still run well, but it does offer a limited capacity.

As an example, you might build custom software that’s designed to perform specific tasks. The software will continue to perform those tasks perfectly well. However, if you want your software to do something different, you’ll need to pay a developer to overhaul your original software.

The benefits of scalability

On the other hand, scalable software is much easier to update as your requirements change. Developers still need to make changes, but it’s a lot cheaper when your software is built on a scalable platform that allows easy adjustments. In that sense, it’s a lot more cost-effective in the long run.

Here are some of the obvious benefits of scalability in software development.

Software that grows with your business

As your business grows, your software needs to keep up. For example, some types of software only allow a certain number of users to access it at any given time. Scalable software, rather, lets you add and subtract users according to your needs. Many forms of scalable software even operate on a licensing system. So, rather than paying the big bucks when your business starts out, you can simply add additional licenses as you gain more employees.

Easily accessible

Because most scalable software operates in a cloud environment, it has much better accessibility. Rather than needing to use a desktop computer in your office with the software installed, you can access scalable cloud-based software from anywhere.

At the same time, cloud environments also offer better access control. You decide who can access your software, and there’s better protection against hackers who might target your own smaller servers.

Software development that lets you scale up and down

Finally, the beauty of scalable software is that it works both ways. Consider for a moment that you have a huge project that runs for 6 months. You might hire more contractors on a short-term basis to complete that project.

With traditional unscalable software, you’d probably need to purchase brand-new software to accommodate the extra workload. This isn’t a smart investment if your workload decreases after the project is finished.

Scalable software handles the extra workload and users while you need it, but lets you return to normal afterwards. The cost benefits to scalable software are immense in the long term.