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What is a tech stack? Learn the key ingredients of digital transformation
What is a tech stack? Learn the key ingredients of digital transformation

What is a tech stack? Learn the key ingredients of digital transformation

Once a software-exclusive term - tech stacking is now a crucial facet of successful business. Learn the what, why and how.

The Tech Stack is a traditionally software-exclusive term. But you may have seen it used more and more outside of the world of development. You might be a veteran tech stacker, you may never have heard of a tech stack. You may have a veteran tech stack and still not know what it really means. We got you.

A tech stack refers to a selection of technologies and tools that a person or company utilises (often in conjunction with one another) to execute, automate and scale operations and practices. A good tech stack does this at the individual/employee level all the way through to an overarching supply chain. Not too long ago a tech stack was understood exclusively within the world of programming and technological frameworks.

The Tech Stack is a traditionally software-exclusive term. But you may have seen it used more and more outside of the world of development. You might be a veteran tech stacker, you may never have heard of a tech stack. You may have a veteran tech stack and still not know what it really means. We got you.

A tech stack refers to a selection of technologies and tools that a person or company utilises (often in conjunction with one another) to execute, automate and scale operations and practices. A good tech stack does this at the individual/employee level all the way through to an overarching supply chain. Not too long ago a tech stack was understood exclusively within the world of programming and technological frameworks.

In the digital era that continues to surpass our own imagination, it’s become more broadly defined as the utilisation of technology to fulfil and optimise business requirements and processes. It’s now critical for business (digital, brick-and-mortar and everything in between) to readily adopt technology and adapt to an ever-changing digital ecosystem and corporate world.

However, it’s important to recognise that it is absolutely NOT a one-size fits all. Each business and each person will have different ways of working, and different measures and definitions of effective outcomes.

Improved efficiency

A well-chosen tech stack can help streamline business process, and reduce error. Think of the Standard Operating Procedure, the detailed, step-by-step set of instructions that outlines how a specific task or process should be performed consistently. With the right technology, many of these tasks and steps can be automated, and the right utilisation of technology and tech processes can become their own SOP.

For example, if you’re an eCommerce brand then effective ways to automate and streamline with technology could mean structured and efficient shipping & logistics process, automated inventory tracking and management or engaging and rewarding repeat customers. For a services-based company it might mean effective time tracking, automated billing and follow ups and a well-designed AI knowledge base/help desk.

Better scalability

More than just automating repetitive tasks to achieve results faster, utilising technology for process improvement and automation can free up time for employees to focus on high-value work and activities. A strong tech stack enables a company to easily adapt to changing systems and markets, allowing you to easily update and change on the fly.

Perhaps one of the most effective parts of technology in scalability is the connection it can provide us to our consumer base. With data & analytics, as well as community platforms and communication tools, we can learn about what our customers or users want on a deeply granular level. These insights will consistently offer you new ways to improve, innovate and grow your business.

Better work environments

At the end of the day technology can help improve the utility of your business assets and processes, however your most important asset will always be people. This has been recognised by everyone now, and we see coming the “Great Resignation”.

But technology creates a space where we can ask people to be creative, to grow. With automation of busywork and less structured and intensive working environments, we have an opportunity to build Intrapraneurship (a system that allows an employee to act like an entrepreneur within a company or other organisation) among employees.

Technology can also be utilised to create a better place to work, we can utilise communication platforms to engage and support employees, we can reduce workloads and give ourselves and others more time to participate in hobbies and creative activities outside of the workplace environment.

Cost reduction

Many organisations are still spending thousands of dollars outsourcing and hiring for work that could be easily automated or made simpler with the right tech stack. From finances to admin, sales, marketing, data analytics and beyond, there’s a myriad of tech products available to companies of any kind to streamline these operations and cut back on significant costs.

Competitive advantage

Utilising the right technology (for both internal and consumer-facing operations) substantially speeds up and improves your own or your business’ capacity for progress, innovation and scalability. Learning about the benefits of tech stacking and utilising what’s on offer can set up on a trajectory to stay one step ahead of your competitors, on all fronts.

A tech stack forms a critical foundation from which business can grow, scale, adapt and thrive. Which is why we like using the term Digital System for a few different reasons.

It seems rather complicated - and perhaps unnecessary to some - to use so many different products, with so many different logins, structures, payments and so on. You can certainly limit the amount of tech you need to the absolute minimum by choosing products with the most comprehensive set of features available. But at the end of the day, business and people are complex. And you are likely going to find your stack grows as your business does.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the different products available, and how to best utilise each of these. We get it, and for this we want to introduce you to (or remind you of) a conceptual model called Systems Architecture. Again, it’s a concept used fundamentally within the realm of software, but it’s also a philosophically similar idea to Systems Thinking.

Systems Architecture refers to the fundamental organisation of a system, represented in its components, their relationships, and principles governing its design and evolution. It involves the high-level view of the structure, behaviour and interactions of a system, and provides a blueprint for its design and development.

Think of your tech stack like one large, interconnected system, one that operates in continuum with your people and operations. Usually, they integrate and interact with one another across all the different domains of your business. To best build and utilise your own system, we’ve written out a step-by-step process for you below:

1. Define your business purpose

What is it you do, what makes you stand out from the rest and what are you hoping to achieve in your business or your personal/professional life.

2. Define your short and long term goals

Where do you want to be in 6 months, 12 months, 3 years and 5 years? Ensure each goal is practical and achievable.

3. Outline clear, realistic objectives

Create a step-by-step of how you will reach each goal, create a clear path from one to the next. Ensure you cover every inch of what you may need to do and achieve to reach your next milestone.

For each objective, outline what and who you will need to achieve this: for example, if you want to take on X number of new clients or reach X number of new subscribers in 12 months, will you need to hire and train new talent? Will you need to reduce time spent on admin? Will you need to change how you’re doing things now?

4. Define your roadblocks & needs

What do you need to achieve these goals? Whether it be a series of tasks, resources, clearly outline your requirements, what categories these fit into (e.g. financial, administrative, managerial, etc.). Are there bottlenecks you need to alleviate, such as slow processes or time-consuming tasks?  

5. Do your research

Now that you know the problems and goals you’re working toward solving and reaching, do some research on digital products that might help you do this. The Repository has over 300 tools, which you can search through based on a number of define filters. We offer comprehensive overviews on each product, including features, pricing, integrations, reviews and more. You can also always reach out to us for any product recommendations, we’re happy to help!

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