Modernization Initiatives and the Business Technology Stack
Insights > Article · August 2017
Overview
Technology investments create a ripple effect that is felt throughout an organization and by its customers. New technologies, regardless of size or function, must fit cohesively with pre-existing technologies and procedures. In this article, we will discuss what modernization means for startups and small businesses, and why decision makers ought to have visibility into their technology stack.

 

This insight was specifically written for decision makers at start-ups and small businesses; however, these fundamentals transcend business sizes and impact both B2B & B2C models. Read to learn how organizations can approach technology management to enhance performance and reduce costs.

The Problem
Organizations are fast moving entities operating within even faster moving markets. A form of modern technology is tied to nearly every business function (Marketing, Sales, Strategy, Operations, Human Resources, et. cetera…) making it easy to become dependent on specific providers or even a certain way of doing things.

 

This dependency can cause businesses to have an overly complex or outdated technology stack. We’ve discovered that many decision makers across start-ups and small businesses modernize for competitiveness but do not consider their full technology stack while doing so.

What is the Technology Stack?
The technology stack is an important concept for decision makers to understand. It typically defines the collection of technologies used to deliver value to customers or to achieve a functioning software or application. Businesses can leverage full visibility into this collection to coordinate efforts, reduce overhead, and improve the customer experience.

 

We believe that all top level decision makers should grasp this concept and its implications on a business, not just heads of technology. Furthermore, understanding the capabilities and limitations of your tech stack can improve the accuracy of decisions made which interface with technology.

 

  •      A brick and mortar business such as a retail store may require a point of sales system (POS) to track sales, measure inventory, and conduct orders.

 

  •      Hybrid businesses with both a physical and online presence (such as a company with a physical store and a website, application, or software) typically demand more technologies to run. Connecting commerce experiences across physical and online markets is the single fastest way for a traditional brick and mortar business to gain new customers.

 

  •      Pure play businesses which operate solely online can have complex technology stacks, especially when a complex product or service is being sold.
Objective-Driven Modernization Initiatives
Modernization initiatives range in complexity. The premise of any attempt to modernize is to rethink what technologies and processes are being used to conduct business and to take advantage of the incredible rate of innovation. The technologies used to run your business are always becoming faster and improving. The first step in executing a successful modernization initiative is to understand your tech stack.

 

The tech stack can be first written as a web, so as to consider which pieces interact where. Creating a visual interpretation can also be useful for strategic decision making.

 

Next, consider the stack collectively and perform a SWOT-like analysis, wherein the complete picture of tech at your business is vetted for its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. By understanding your business’s ‘tech stack SWOT’, an organization can make more informed decisions. The collective stack is an asset which can help or harm companies depending on how it’s managed.

 

Generalized modernization for the sake of keeping up with technology lacks the necessary framework for keeping things simple. Far too often businesses will add technologies to their arsenal without fully understanding the implications it has on the whole company.

 

The core to any well-executed modernization initiative is a set of simple, mission-centric objectives which tap into the vision of the company.

Identifying Objectives
Clear objectives are important for most types of business initiatives. Hopefully, by now you’ve realized that any decision made involving the tech stack reflects a technology investment. Grounding the decision-making process around set objectives is a useful exercise for enhancing top and bottom line performance of investments.

 

Think about how your team delivers value. Are your customers jumping through hoops or taking unnecessary steps to use your services? Have employees complained of technology troubles? The experience created by your collective technology stack strikes at the center of the argument for structured modernization initiatives.

Conclusion
Developing a framework for technology investments is the key to successful modernization initiatives. Unsurprisingly, a reason for why many businesses (both physical & online) invest in technologies on a whim is due to the complex nature of most tech stacks. There is no single place you can go to see what’s doing this or that – it requires a coordinated effort by an entire organization.

 

By creating a core framework for modernizing a business, decision makers also get people talking and collaborating. With the aforementioned points in mind, it’s clear why instigating a modernization effort drives collaboration and improved performance.

 

Aroxe Consulting provides startups, small businesses, and enterprises with a robust method for achieving sustainable growth and viability. We invite you to contact us to learn how we help businesses just like yours. Contact us by phone at (240) 442-2300 or info@aroxe.com.

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