TMCnet Feature
February 22, 2021

How to Build a Powerful and Scalable Tech Stack

What Goes Into the Perfect Tech Stack?

Over the past decade, paper stacks have been replaced by technology stacks. Cumbersome processes have been systemized – the mundane is now streamlined. And while technology is far from perfect, having the right fusion of tools in place can yield profound results. Is your business on the right track?

What is a Tech Stack?

In traditional terms, a technology stack is defined as “the set of technologies an organization uses to build a web or mobile application. It is a combination of programming languages, frameworks, libraries, patterns, servers, UI/UX solutions, software, and tools used by its developers.”

But over the years, the definition has been extended to include all of the software, applications, and tools that a team uses internally to run a business, sell products, engage with customers, and execute marketing strategies.

You have a tech stack, whether you realize it or not. The question is, have you given intentional thought to how your tech stack is constructed? And could a few simple changes and tweaks allow you to be more productive, efficient, and profitable?

For most businesses – small or large – the answer to those questions is “no” and “yes,” respectively. So let’s dig into this topic a bit deeper and find out what can be done to generate better results within your organization.

7 Tips for Building Your Tech Stack

The specifics of your tech stack will depend on your industry, your specific needs, how much of a budget you have, and what internal resources you have on hand. Having said that, here are some helpful tips:

1. Consider the Vendor

When evaluating options, begin by considering the vendor. While not always the case, you’ll typically find that products released by well-known vendors come with more support, better updates, and fewer bugs. (The large user base usually leads to faster version updates and iterations.)

Another benefit of working with a well-known vendor is that they often have pre-built tech stacks (meaning they offer related products that can be easily stacked together within the same ecosystem).

Take Amazon Web Service (AWS) as an example. AWS products include AWS CloudTrail, AWS Key Management Service, AWS Lambda, AWS Secrets Manager, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, Amazon Relational Database Service, Amazon Route 53, Amazon Simple Notification Service, Amazon Simple Queue Service, Amazon Simple Storage Service, Amazon CloudWatch, etc. With so much interoperability, you don’t have to worry about tech stack alignment.

2. Try Industry-Specific Options

As you construct your tech stack, you’ll need to consider whether you want to use industry-specific applications or process-specific options.

“Industry-specific tools are designed according to industry best-practices, whereas process-specific ones are easier to set up and get started with,” Capterra explains. “While industry-specific tools usually tend to be expensive, process-specific tools are usually off-the-shelf solutions and may lack deep customization capabilities.”

Examples of industry-specific applications include banking software or construction software,whereas process-specific applications are related to the specific application, like marketing automation software or time tracking software.

3. Know When to Go Custom

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Custom software development is always a great option. The key is to choose the right software developers and to provide an accurate scope of what you need. More importantly, you need to give your development team information regarding your existing tech stack, so they can ensure compatibility and high-functionality.

4. Prioritize Analytics

The beauty of having interconnected technology is that you can collect data and maximize it by leveraging insights from one tool to amplify your efforts with another application. However, this doesn’t necessarily happen on its own. There has to be some intentional planning behind the scenes.

Analytics should be a priority when selecting different software applications. All major cloud providers have the infrastructure to support big data analytics – it’s up to you to identify the right fit for your stack.

5. Think About Scalability

While it might not be your biggest priority at the moment, scalability is something you have to prioritize when layering applications and software together. Because if growth is the goal of your company, your technology must provide a long runway.

“There could be big costs in the long run if a bad choice is made in regards to scalability,” developer Wes Brummette writes. “Making changes to your tech stack eats up your time and money. Training the team, porting the application, and then extensive testing all would need to be done, and the majority of your users will hardly know the difference.”

When scalability and interoperability are prioritized, good things happen. When they’re ignored, tech stacks quickly fail under pressure.

6. Make Security a Focal Point

When it comes to security, Brummette encourages people to keep three things in mind: prevention, detection, and response.

The key to security is to always have a backup plan in place. So while prevention and detection are pretty straightforward, many businesses get caught up in the third aspect (response). In order to react to a threat, it may be necessary to have some redundant tools in your stack. This will help you run tests and move data if an issue occurs.

7. Do Offsite Research

You can learn a lot about a tool or application from the vendor’s website – and we recommend spending some time there. However, don’t use the vendor as your only source of information. It’s important that you do offsite research, too.

Offsite research on third-party websites and forums will allow you to see actual ratings and reviews from current users (good and bad). The result is a well-rounded view of how the product performs and whether it’s worth investing in.

Adding it All Up

There’s no such thing as a universal tech stack. Every single business has their own unique needs and capabilities. As you architect your own tech stack, you’ll have to keep these factors in mind. You may choose to mirror other companies in your niche, but don’t assume you can copy-and-paste and get the same results. Do your own due diligence and you’ll be rewarded with a highly efficient stack that provides years of results!

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