Intelligent CIO Middle East Issue 34 - Page 49

CIO opinion CIO OPINION “ WHEN FORTINET WAS A SMALL FIRM COMPRISING A FEW DOZEN STAFF, COMMUNICATION WAS A BREEZE AMONG THE TEAM MEMBERS. ///////////////// Michael Xie, Founder, President and CTO of Fortinet FORTINET FOUNDER: How tech companies can avoid growing pains What happens when an IT business becomes really successful and grows rapidly? Is it still able to operate in the same flexible way it did when it was smaller? Michael Xie, Founder, President and CTO of Fortinet, shares some pointers on how to raise a tech business successfully. A s many teenagers can attest to, growing up isn’t easy. In my experience, neither is nurturing a tech business. As firms that find success as start-ups develop into mid-sized and eventually large companies, they run into growing pains of all ilk that call for the right strategies, processes and decisions to alleviate. For example, to be successful, tech businesses need to recognise change and react swiftly. As they expand, however, they often lose the ability to perform quick pivots, or even to recognise that a pivot is needed. Start-ups, on the other hand, tend to be much more agile – it doesn’t take much deliberation for them to do a pivot and create a new product to fill a gap they see in the marketplace. This is largely due to their singular, focused business direction. Start-ups typically aim to do one thing only which may cause indecision. The other obstacle that companies face as they grow is that their decision making chain gets fuzzier. In larger firms, this chain often gets INTELLIGENTCIO 49 49