Digital Products: What Is Scalability

Maximiliano Malvido
The Startup
Published in
4 min readFeb 3, 2021

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Today, I am writing about another concept that can be confusing but is very important if you want to build a successful digital product independently if you are working on a company product or you are a startup working on a product for your target audience.

Before you start reading, I want to clarify that this article refers to digital products, specifically software products. All the information here is knowledge gathered by the team of Claw Studios from the experience we have working on different challenges with our customers.

There are multiple definitions of what is Scalability depending on the context in where we use this word. I will try to reach a simple, but complete, explanation about this concept while going through three subjects that converge when we talk about digital products and companies, these are Business, Infrastructure, and Code.

Related to Business, means the potential of a business model to be able to grow and expand to different places and markets.

Think about the big ones like Uber, Google, Microsoft, Airbnb, etc. These companies have business models that apply to almost every place in the world and they solve a problem that almost every person has. They have found a way to make it profitable and expanded to every part of the world, sometimes making small changes to how they operate but without modifying their value proposition.

In IT Infrastructure, it refers to the capability of a system to respond to variable amounts of load (users, requests, connections, etc) with good performance and in a cost-efficient way.

Let’s keep using the big ones as an example, imagine the number of queries that Google’s search engine answers per second… There are around 70,000 estimated search queries per second that are handled by Google servers. That’s a lot... How do they do this? they increase and decrease their servers usage automatically depending on the number of queries they receive.

Using a small explanatory case, imagine your product uses one server that is capable of handling a maximum of five users' connections simultaneously. If you have three users connected, you will need one server running, if you have four more users connect, you will have seven users connected, this means your system will need two servers running to ensure a good performance for your users. And if then two users disconnect, you will have five users, which means you need to shut down the second server and keep serving your content with one server.

Explanatory case illustration.

There is another key thing to have in mind if you want to build a real scalable digital product that allows your business operations area to grow successfully. The Code.

Code Scalability is the flexibility of a codebase, this means the capability that it has to be modified on demand, driven by the business needs (E.g. New features, changes in core features, new modules, integrations, team expansion, etc). It’s strongly related to software architecture and it has a lot of impact on how fast a company can respond to changes.

Most of the time this is ignored in the early stages and tried to be implemented in mid or late stages, turning up to be a painful and expensive process.

At Claw Studios we know that taking care of code base flexibility it’s a key, that has to be incorporated gradually from the early stages, if acting fast and being the first ones are present in your business culture values.

If you are struggling with scalable code, don’t hesitate and contact us, we can help you.

Conclusion

After going through these topics, we can conclude that:

A Digital Product is scalable when it has the potential to grow and expand over different markets while being able to respond to variable amounts of load and adapt to business changes being fast, flexible, with good performance, and in a cost-efficient way.

Thanks for your time.

Maximiliano Malvido — CEO & Founder of Claw Studios

info@clawstudios.com

If you are willing to build a successful scalable product, don’t hesitate and contact us, we are specialized in full-cycle product development, from idea to launch, and support for startups and enterprise.

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