A technology stack can carry several different meanings depending on who you ask.
Executives may say their tech stack improves collaboration and productivity. Financial professionals might cite all the monthly expenses associated with SaaS subscriptions the company relies on. In-house technology departments may dive into all the API integrations, frameworks, codebase, front-end, and back-end technologies.
What is a tech stack? How can a small business welcome the right technologies to support their business? We posed these questions to tech geeks, small business owners, and solopreneurs to see what they had to say.
Here are 13 ways to pick the right technology stack for your business.
Get Clear On Categories
-Randall Smalley, Cruise America
The Tools You Can’t Live Without
A tech stack is a collection of tools that keeps a company running. In other words, if a tool went away for an hour or a day, would it cause distribution in operations? That’s a pretty good indicator that a tool is a critical part of your technology stack. For our small business, our tech stack includes a project management tool (Asana), time tracking tool (Harvest), integrated CRMs (Pipedrive for sales + Mailchimp for marketing), Google tools (Analytics + Search Console), industry software (Ahrefs), and a handful of others. When defining your own tech stack, think about categories first and then take an audit of the tools you can’t live without.
-Brett Farmiloe, Markitors
Organize Team Training Seminars
Also referred to as productivity tools, a tech stack is a group of digital software that makes it easier for business operations to be carried out. Small businesses can welcome the right technologies for their businesses by organizing training seminars for employees. These training courses will make it easier for employees to embrace the software and to learn the best way to maximize its features. Remember, the tech stack is supposed to improve productivity and work output. If employees are ignorant of the features of these tools, they will struggle to make the most of the software.
-Chioma Iwunze, Time Doctor
Create a Minimum Viable Product Before Investing
A tech stack is essentially a combination of tools or programming languages required for an application to run. There is no right or wrong tech stack per se, it just depends on what kind of application you are hoping to build and how to plan to scale it down the road. One piece of advice I would offer someone trying to make this decision is to test different options while creating a minimum viable product to find the right fit before investing in the final concept.
John Yardley, Threads
Focus on Seamlessness and Integration
A technology stack is the IT infrastructure that is used to seamlessly run the technologies that power a business. The key consideration of a tech stack is how seamless and integrated technologies are. Ideally, technology solutions should interface and speak to each other, especially with respect to financial and compliance considerations. If you are curious about solutions, schedule demos with ERP providers in your niche. It never hurts to explore existing solutions and to put a mirror up to your own technology stack.
-Megan Chiamos, 365 Cannabis
Hire a Consultant
Tech stack is the building component of any software that is needed to create any web or mobile applications. The role of a tech stack is to make it easy for businesses to improve their user experience for clients. Choosing the wrong technologies can cause your business to lose money, time, and many other valuable resources. TIn order to avoid such issues, a business analyst consultant or a well-experienced developer can help you set up a tech stack. If you are concerned about the money that you will spend on these people, just think of the money you will lose if you didn’t.
-Derin Oyekan, Reel Paper
Define Your Current and Future Needs
Tech stack is the term used to describe the list of software, apps, and hardware that an individual team or company uses to perform business functions. This includes everything from the email provider and messaging tool the company uses to communicate to financial, HR, sales, and customer-facing software that different teams might use to run daily operations.
A small business should define their needs, budget, and timeline for implementation before signing on to any software. In addition, the software search team should look for what features are needed today, and what features the team may use in the future as it grows.
-Rob Bellenfant, TechnologyAdvice
Ask Other Small Business Owners
As a small business, our tech stack includes everything our remote team uses to complete their work. For example, we use Slack, WhatsApp, Zoom, When I Work, and many other applications. I’ve found a great way to find the right technologies for our business is to ask other business owners in my network. The advantage of this approach is that it helps you avoid making investments in technology that isn’t the right fit. For example, some tech is built for the enterprise and so is overkill for what a small business needs. Friends and professionals in my network have consistently made great recommendations for software and tools to use.
-Tasia Duske, Museum Hack
Keep it Relevant and Up to Date
A tech stack is a list of all the technologies that an organization uses for building its digital infrastructure. Small businesses must ensure that they keep their tech stack relevant and up to date. This is important for two reasons. First, it means that your organization has the newest technology features available so you can get the best out of your mobile and web applications. Secondly, developers want to work for companies that pay close attention to their tech stack and are excited about the opportunity to work with new technologies. This means you’re more likely to attract talented developers to work for your organization.
-Justin Lestal, DevSkiller
Integrate Your Tools
A tech stack in a set of tools and apps that businesses use to streamline operations, share information, and analyze performance. Typically, the tools are integrated. For example, a business might have HR, payroll, accounting, and expense management software that all sync with each other to manage finances and employees. Advice: Look for software that works together to think about building a stack, think about the one or two most important pieces of software to a particular job function. Maybe for finances, you really want everything to be able to get into your accounting software seamlessly. Use this one tool as your foundation, then choose others that integrate with it to expand your stack.
-Elliot Brown, OnPay
Don’t Rush Into It
A tech stack is a combination of technologies that help you to achieve a business goal. For example, a sales tech stack helps you to generate more revenue. For a small business, I recommend building a tech stack slowly. Obtain one tool, learn how to use it, and then add another tool. For a sales tech stack, I would start with a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to manage customer appointments and notes. After that tool is in place, consider adding another tool to further optimize the tech stack like an appointment scheduling tool like Schedule Once.
-Bruce Harpham, Technology Marketing Consultant
Look For Scalable Features
A tech stack is a group of technological solutions designed to work together. When we built our recruitment department from the ground up including the tech stack, we wanted to ensure that the solutions we choose either had an open Application programming interface (API) or could integrate easily with other parts of our stack. We also wanted to make sure it was scalable and would still be useful as we expanded. A key scalability feature for us was how many users the platform supported and how is that determined from a pricing standpoint. Lastly, if it’s a SaaS (Software as a Service) we wanted to know their approach to updating the platform and if they charge for integration with other tech platforms.
-Steven Brown, DP Electric Inc
Implement a Technology Strategy
A tech stack is everything a small business uses to run its technology, from the server operating system to the coding language used to write a custom application. Every small business should have a technology strategy created so their vendors (or their staff) can better make decisions about which technologies are used. In some cases, off-the-shelf solutions are fine but companies with a unique process they follow to serve their customers may need to look at developing a custom software package. If you don't have a technology strategy, create one or bring in someone to help you create one.
-Peter Adams, Ping! Development