Is Your Tech Stack Holding You Back?
There are many decisions business leaders face as a company grows. Decisions about a company’s technology infrastructure are some of the most important, and yet, that infrastructure often develops haphazardly. In this overview, we’ll discuss how companies usually end up developing a tech stack, some of the common pitfalls associated with the typical tech stack, as well as advice on how business leaders can overcome these issues to build a technology infrastructure that sets their organization up for long-term growth.
First, let’s pause and define what “tech stack” means for a growing business. Technology companies that develop software/apps might narrowly define a tech stack as all of the elements used to build and manage those applications. This definition isn’t broad enough, however, because virtually all companies now use some combination of tech—if not to build their products, then to carry out business operations, monitor performance, and provide a personalized customer experience. A common tech stack structure might include a CRM, marketing automation, communication tools, custom software, and more.
The Typical Process
For many companies, the typical path to a tech stack goes something like this:
- Phase 1 – Getting off the ground. When a company launches, the primary concern is executing at the lowest cost, and business leaders will likely use very standard tools (Microsoft Office, Google Workspace, etc.) just to get the job done.
- Phase 2 – Many needs, many solutions. At some point, business leaders will need better solutions, so they start paying for point solutions for very specific applications. Various people across the company will need tools specific to the tasks with which they have been assigned (Mailchimp, Quickbooks, etc.), but those solutions won’t necessarily talk to each other.
- Phase 3 – Integration overload. As a company grows and point solutions proliferate, information becomes increasingly decentralized among both people and solutions. Companies will usually try to integrate some of these solutions, but the management of this sort of haphazard technology structure starts costing a lot of time, money, and attention, keeping leaders from actually running the business. We call this the “point solutions trap.” Some businesses never find their way out of this predicament, and their growth continues to be throttled as a result.
Escaping the Point Solutions Trap
The resources dedicated to managing and maintaining point solutions create a drag on a company’s growth, and the technology debt inherent in a tech stack that’s built on point solutions is ultimately a liability for a company. So how do companies get stuck in this trap? Usually, it’s a combination of one or more reasons:
- Point solutions worked—at first. Point solutions are band-aid solutions. They fix an immediate problem but lead to more issues later on.
- “Rip and replace” feels overwhelming. Until the pain of point solutions forces business leaders into action, sometimes it’s just easier to ignore the problem.
- It’s too expensive to change. The per-solution pricing of the various tools being used may be easier for business leaders to accept, as long as the ultimate costs in time, productivity, and opportunity are not taken into account.
So, how does a company escape the point solutions trap? Or better yet, avoid it altogether? First, take stock of where you are and where you want to go:
- Perform a tech stack audit. Determine what tools are currently being used, as well as gaps where technology needs to be applied or issues addressed.
- Determine your goals. In addition to determining how technology should meet the current needs of your company, think through how you want that technology to support your future goals for growth. In order not to fall right back into the point solutions trap, it’s important to create a technology plan that can grow with you.
- Establish a budget. This step usually requires serious self-reflection from business leaders. When creating a budget, don’t just consider the cost of current point solutions. You also need to take into account the costs of integrations, personnel required to manage these solutions, and the productivity and growth opportunities lost due to an inadequate tech structure. Be realistic about what these issues will ultimately mean for your business.
When you consider that any given business will have a diverse set of tech needs that will evolve as the company grows, it becomes clear that a tech solution that can meet a wide array of needs, as well as provide a path for growth, offers many benefits to a business. These types of solutions are known as platform solutions.
One Solution to Rule Them All
The right platform solution can be a one-stop-shop for all areas of a company, addressing the unique needs of various departments, integrating processes smoothly, and adapting to ever-changing business needs. When it comes to platform solutions on which you can run your whole business and grow, Salesforce is the platform of choice. Salesforce is the global leader in CRM platforms, ranking as the #1 CRM for eight consecutive years, and is designed to be a “complete CRM solution” that connects every area of your business. From a platform perspective, Salesforce has all of the core abilities a business needs, native to the system.
In addition to the initial structure Salesforce provides, there are endless options to extend the system. The intelligence of the software enables users to creatively build and customize the platform to meet specific business problems and align with a company’s particular systems and processes. Salesforce also provides the biggest add-in ecosystem, connectivity, and fully mapped API stack.
When it comes to a platform decision, Salesforce can provide everything a growing company needs in one place. With Salesforce as the foundation of your tech stack, you can maximize the most valuable resources of your company—time and energy— while building your business on a scalable solution that you won’t outgrow.