Choosing the right technology stack for your company is no easy feat.
Over the past five years, technology solutions have proliferated. In marketing alone, there are over 5,000 software choices to pick from. Not to mention leveraging technology to service other parts of businesses such as operations, accounting, project management, customer service, etc.
From startups to mid-size companies, owners and managers alike have spent time on the Internet asking questions, reading reviews and researching the best tools to help manage their business. We are writing this blog post to share our point of view.
Traditionally, a technology stack (tech stack for short) is a combination of software product and programming languages used to create a web or mobile application. Going further back in time, the terminology referred to a set of software that provides the infrastructure for a computer. The stacks differ whether installed in a client or a server.
In today's digitally connected world, the phrase "tech stack" has become a catch-all for the set of software and tools a company uses to create, service and deliver value to its customers.
Tech stacks are critical to your business success. And the responsibility of managing technology does not just rest within the IT department. It touches almost every part of your business. As such, regardless of what technology and software you employ, the end game must be that you create a seamless experience for your customers.
Here at adWhite, we use the following process to evaluate our customers' tech stacks.
1. Start with the BASICS
For team members to stay aligned and focus on their roles, there are defined processes to help manage expectations and workflow.
Dropbox enables file sharing. It improves efficiency and collaboration. Slack is a cloud-based online team communications tool which helps team members organize conversations as more people are starting to work remotely. FreshBooks and QuickBooks are accounting software tools that keep track of expenses and billing. Many of us have used Mailchimp and Constant Contact for email marketing. What do these applications have in common? They create efficiencies in processes and eliminate redundant steps in workflow.
2. Map Out the Customer's Journey
Do you know what your customers really want? How they shop? What information they're looking for? It's only possible to create detailed alignments of technology, data and individual processes once you have a deep understanding of the complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your company and brand. From there, make sure that the technology you employ doesn't create gaps and barriers in delivering on their expectations.
3. Have a Growth Plan
Technology can help with on-boarding and tracking, and it can even generate insights. Smart business leaders don't trip over a dollar to save a penny. While cost is an important factor in evaluating your tech stack, if you find quality tools that can help you grow, don't just look at the price tag. Plan for the future — what are your potential growth needs? Where can you differentiate your business from competitors? How would these tools save you money in the long run? Take the long-term view.
Here's a great overview of operational attributes of various types of technology applications that can help grow your company from Forrester.
Lastly, we want to do a quick plug for HubSpot.
We have yet to find a platform that works better than HubSpot from a growth stack standpoint. Yes, we are a little bit biased. But many companies have siloed technologies strung together in the interest of saving cost, which ultimately creates a disjointed experience for the customers. HubSpot's growth stack can be used to market, sell, communicate and mange internal workflows. There are also plug-ins and integrations that help to mange other software and apps that you're already using. To say that we are fans is an understatement.
If you want a second opinion on the technology you are currently using for operations or marketing/sales, please feel free to reach out.