Customers are more demanding than ever before. Your software has to be scalable for your software solution to keep up with the changes expected by the end-user. Software scalability is a term often thrown around by businesses, yet few people talk about what it actually means.

When creating a new piece of software, you need to look at the long-term. Scalable software should still be relevant and cutting-edge years down the line. To achieve that, you need to make your product compatible with the changing world. Let’s start this guide by asking what is scalability in software and looking at how your business can make it happen.

What is Software Scalability?

What is scalability? Instinctively, your mind might first jump to increasing capacity. While this is a scalability factor, it’s not the only form it can take. Some scalability examples include:

  • Increasing capacity
  • Increasing functionality
  • Better usability
  • Adaptability
  • Resource reduction

A perfect example of scalable software is Bitly. We provide businesses with link management software at scale. You can quickly and easily generate and customize millions of URLs. Having software that allows your company to scale like ours ensures you can automate workflows via efficient APIs. Plus, our URL shortening software is compatible with 700+ integrations.

Basic Principles of Scalable Software

To fully understand software scalability, let’s discuss the principles that make scalability what it is.

Maximum Stored Data

Does your platform include large amounts of unstructured data, such as site reports, content, and marketing data? Data levels often rise unexpectedly as more users connect to your software, meaning your data capacity must be able to scale quickly.


Businesses are more than willing to pay big money for experienced developers, and for good reason. More inexperienced developers tend to overlook the quality of their coding, which results in inferior software scalability. When developers code they should keep scalability in mind because code should be deployed in a way that enables it to be added to or changed without altering the original code. In other words, scaling software will involve reducing the size and complexity of the code involved. Keep it clean, and your software will be simpler to scale.

Why Is Scalability Important For Businesses?

Scalability is important both for short and long-term issues. Confronting scalability in issues that arise will empower your company to continue to meet the needs and expectations of its paying customers. When getting a product to market, scaling allows for companies to only create what they need at that moment rather than including lots of irrelevant features and slowing production time. Since the software is scalable, new features and functionality can be added as companies grow and customer needs change. This allows for a faster time to market and a smaller investment to get started.

Plus, scalability is all about relevance. With so much competition, it’s crucial to stay alert and flexible in an evolving marketplace. Choosing scaling software as your solution will keep your brand in the game and ensure you can pivot and move as your customers do.

What Happens When Software isn’t Scalable?

It’s important to take into account the consequences of failing to invest in scalable solutions. At first glance, the weaknesses aren’t always obvious. During the early stages of any product, the workload is light, and the pressure on the system is negligible. When you don’t have a large number of people using it simultaneously, you don’t notice the workload issues right away. As the strain builds up, the only solution becomes patches. But patches add complexity, which makes diagnosing problems more difficult. While it can be done, it’s tedious, expensive, and ultimately less effective. Starting on the right foot is key to heading off problems further down the line when it comes to scalability.

Opportunity Cost & Economies of Scale

Opportunity cost is an important consideration and is defined as the loss of an opportunity when an alternative is chosen. In many ways, scalable products come with a lower opportunity cost simply because of their close relation with economies of scale. By creating a more efficient software development process, your production costs decrease as you continue to expand. By switching to more scalable development processes, you take advantage of economies of scale and lower your opportunity costs, which translates to your bottom line.