What is the Secret Sauce for Small Business Success?
Using an Integrated Tech Stack to Modernize Your Business
Companies decide to modernize for many reasons. Maybe payroll is taking too long, or your customer reports just don't seem to provide the data you need. Often, it's just that nagging feeling that for some reason, you and your staff just aren't getting it done. Throwing more bodies at a problem will not always be the best solution, as this can create additional challenges at the worst possible time. Today, if customer service slides and your client experience is degraded, your business will suffer. Fortunately, there are many software and application options to improve your business processes. Let's talk about how tech stacks can work for you.
What is a Tech Stack?
Sometimes referred to as a technology ecosystem, a tech stack is a crucial part of modernizing your business. It describes the combination of software solutions a business employs to optimize its operations.
The easiest and most relatable example of a tech stack in probably what you are reading this post on, your phone. Your phone is the hardware, and the tech stack are the apps you have on your phone that make your life easier - a calendar app, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, banking apps, fitness apps, email, picture and video editing programs. We use a tech stack every day.
Just as the above programs help you navigate the day, the right tech stack will allow your business to navigate efficiently, effectively and with more time to focus on your core business objectives. You are no doubt familiar with Quickbooks, ADP, Google, Gmail, Amazon, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, MailChimp, etc. But the right combination for your business can often be elusive. To illustrate this, our friends at Accountex put together this infographic and update it yearly to show the vast array of choices in the different categories. This year they have 30 categories and over 700 solutions and this list may not include the industry specific options your business needs.
So, what is an Integrated Tech Stack?
This is where you get to see the real benefits of modernizing. An integrated tech stack refers to not just a combination of software solutions but solutions that interact with each other.
Once a business commits to taking the leap to modernize, the benefits are wide ranging. Employees are spending less time on monotonous tasks (like data entry) and managers and owners can sleep a little sounder knowing their data is protected by better levels of security. Some of the benefits to an integrate tech stack are:
Increased Security and Recovery
Upgrading a system also brings the latest security features. Cloud-based systems allow for the latest security updates to be seamless and automatic. Your data is backed up in numerous virtual locations and no longer resides on a server in your office.
Upgrading systems in 2019 is much different than you might remember. There are no more costly infrastructure requirements, no more repetitive server maintenance and no worries about backing up those servers daily and storing the tape drives somewhere safe. Even better, you might gain a room back that used to house your servers and associated equipment!
Simplified Operations and Increased Accuracy
An integrated tech stack will allow the process of complex, multi-part processes to be handled within a unified environment while reducing manual inputs. This will make your data easier to work with as well as more accurate. Humans make mistakes, and sometimes these are caught, but often they are not. By taking out the human component we simplify the process and increase both the rate and the consistency of data transferred between programs.
Efficiency and Real-time Information
This is one of my favorite benefits. With integrated tech stacks you will have access to real-time data at your fingertips. No more waiting for a department to process what another department sent them. The systems take care of the transfers. This allows your employees to be more efficient and use their time to add value, avoiding menial tasks. Imagine going to bed knowing how many sales you made or knowing reminder and notification emails are being sent while you sleep and you don’t have a stack of letters to fold, stamp and mail waiting on you the next day.
With 700+ Options, How Do We Get Started?
Modernizing is a big step and is often exciting and scary. For an established company, you’ve been doing it your way for years and it works. However, a new company might be afraid of moving from the manual process that got them started and has worked to this point. Both have realized that in order to grow and stay relevant they need to modernize.
You will find 3 different types of help on modernizing:
· The first type is the sales rep from one of the 700 solutions providers. They drank the Kool-Aid and the system they are representing is fantastic and can solve your problem. They may not be wrong, but unless they first get to know your business it’s an educated guess.
· The second type is the consultant who knows how to do everything using the same tech stack. They bring you on board and change your processes to fit their system. For a lot of companies this will work. You get a solution for your business and a partner that likely knows those solutions thoroughly.
· For those businesses that don’t quite fit the mold or do something that is unique, you need a third type of help. This would be a consultant who doesn’t come in with predetermined solutions. They get to the root of your business and build a custom integrated tech stack from the bottom up. You may get some of the same solutions being offered from the other two consultants, but you get the confidence that it works with your business from someone who takes the time to learn your business, which is as unique as you are.
Finding the Right Fit
Ultimately, it's your business and modernizing is a big step with big rewards. Choosing the right partner to help you get to the next level in business is crucial. Your industry and current tech stack will likely influence the type of help you need. Just like with any other hiring you do, you want to find the best fit for your company. With a full modernization project, that person will likely be around a while, helping you plan, integrate and then supporting you as you fully realize the potential of your now modern system.
Remember, just like your cell phone it is the latest and greatest only until something better comes around. Work with someone that will help keep you modern longer. Those out of the box ideas are what will keep you relevant longer and the right tech stack will evolve along with the world. Feel free to write to me anytime, and if you'd like more information on how an integrated tech stack can help grow your business, please follow me on Facebook and LinkedIn.