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These tech tools can often simplify a variety of office responsibilities, ranging from supply chain management to aggregating sales data. However, an ever-growing tech stack can actually introduce a new complication for small businesses: effectively managing and monitoring all their tech tools.
1. Document your current tech stack
You can’t manage your tech stack if you don’t know what is in it. This is why your business must first start by collecting information on all the tools your company uses. This should include every department (and in a small business, possibly each individual), and cover every tech product that your company pays for to perform its work.
Once you’ve received this information from everyone within your organization, make a list of each tool, which department uses it and the total cost for the subscription. This big picture view is the essential starting point for managing your tech stack.
2. Identify redundancies
Small businesses can sometimes operate in a siloed environment, where one department isn’t even aware of the tool used by another. This can easily create a situation where different employees are subscribed to different tech tools that functionally do the same thing.
A small business won’t have the need (or budget) for multiple video conferencing or workplace collaboration tools. Identify where different tools in your tech stack overlap with each other. When you have multiple tools that perform the same function, you will save money and help your entire team become more efficient by eliminating the extras.
You may also discover that some tech tools aren’t being used for their full suite of features. Quite often, you may be able to cut costs by switching to a tool that only provides the features your team actually needs, rather than paying for a host of unnecessary extra functionalities.
Fill gaps in your tech stack
When evaluating your current tech stack, you should also take time to consider any inefficiencies where adopting a new tool could improve your business functions. You would hardly be alone in this. A vcita survey of more than 3,000 small and micro business owners found that 96 percent adopted a new digital tool in 2021. These tools help make their business more efficient, say 97.1 percent, with 32.7 percent using four to six tools regularly.
This data highlights the growing range of applications available to fill common needs faced by small businesses, such as finding new clients, managing cash flow and retaining current clients. Chances are, if you can identify an inefficiency in your business operations, there is now a tech tool available to help.
Make a list of areas that could benefit from additional tech assistance to guide future research into new tools your company could use.
Replace dysfunctional tech
An analysis of your tech stack is also a good time to evaluate just how well the tools your company uses are actually working. Unsurprisingly, this can go a long way in helping you decide which tool to keep if you have multiple software subscriptions for the same task. But getting into in-depth discussions with your team can also help you identify which non-redundant tech tools are due for an upgrade.
If a tech tool isn’t improving your processes, communication and documentation, your business likely isn’t performing as efficiently as it could be. A tool that is confusing or time-consuming is likely hurting productivity, rather than helping it.
In this case, the solution should be to find a replacement that performs the desired task in a more efficient manner. Research from Workday reveals that 75 percent of business leaders choose to implement SaaS tools to improve their company’s agility.
The right tools will enable your team to focus their efforts on more important work that drives profits, while also helping them perform their current responsibilities better.
Develop an oversight strategy for the future
Your work isn’t done after you’ve performed your initial evaluation of your tech stack. Your evaluation should be future-focused, identifying and responding to not just the needs and challenges you face today, but the ones that could arise in the future as you scale.
To that end, you should develop an oversight strategy to guide how you evaluate tech tools in the future. Have processes in place for determining whether you should adopt a new tool, or if you should stop using a particular software program. Clear evaluation and approval guidelines will prevent unnecessary and unauthorized spending so your tech stack remains easy to manage.
The right tech tools can greatly boost your productivity. But a disorganized tech stack can easily become a drain on your bottom line as you spend on redundant or outdated tools.
By performing a thorough evaluation of your current tech stack and implementing an oversight strategy for future use, you’ll have a clear understanding of which tools you need to adopt, replace or retire altogether.