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In the present times, no business can manage to thrive without software solutions.
With 89% of companies putting digital-first strategies into play, the power of technology is hard to ignore.
Today, technology stacks are also used for various reasons, from digital marketing and sales to human resources and analytics.
Instead of helping just one arm of your business succeed, you can build a tech stack (or multiple tech stacks) that encourages your entire organization’s growth.
As a business leader, it’s critical to be aware of the digital tools on the market and how each one can transform your operations and results.
As with any fast-growing industry, building a minimum viable product (MVP) fast will be key. You’ll also want to consider scalability, however.
If your platform takes off, you’ll need to rapidly adjust to handle a growing userbase that will quickly expand beyond what your MVP can manage.
This doesn’t mean that you need to up your software procurement to match your peers, but you could explore a limited mix of tools to improve operations and weed out inefficiencies.
This mix will make up your company’s technology stack, or tech stack in short.
However, creating an effective tech stack is not as plain as picking up software tools of your choice and deploying them.
Below, we’ll discuss how to build a tech stack when developing apps for specific industries or verticals. We’ll also cover some best practices that any startup can take advantage of.
What Is A Tech Stack?
It encompasses all software, web applications, and other tools that are core parts of how you operate.
The term “tech stack” most commonly refers to programming languages, software products, web servers, operating systems, and other tools used by software-as-a-service (SaaS) and development teams.
For instance, your marketing tech stack—i.e., the tools used by your marketing team—could include email management, social media management, CRM, and survey solutions.
Similarly, other HR, IT, and operations teams could be using different sets of software tools to automate and streamline their daily workflows.
However, as more and more brands move their operations onto their computers and mobile devices, tech stacks are no longer exclusive to the app, web, or software development process.
Your tech stack should encourage you to scale.
Before you commit to a set of tools, weigh your current business trajectory and goals against the limitations of the digital tools you’re considering.
Beyond making sure your tech stack can hold up against your company‘s growth, you’ll want to confirm it keeps pace with changes in the greater market.
If a tool is continuously making updates as consumer expectations shift, this is a good sign that it will be beneficial to you in the long term.
In general, if you don’t consider scalability early on, you run the risk of needing to add additional tools or technology to support the continued growth of your app.
Often, this can be a bit of an undertaking and may make maintaining the app more challenging.
At the same time, an overly ambitious tech stack, created with plans for massive userbase growth in mind, may go to waste if an app never finds its audience.
At the initial release of the application, there might not be a large amount of data.
However, if an application grows–for example, by adding more users–a tech stack should either be capable of absorbing new users on its own or flexible enough that you can add on any other digital tool or a framework.
The application’s architecture should be scalable, as this determines whether the app can handle the load of an increase in the number of app users or not.
Scalability also depends on the cloud servers you use to host your product.
When including a cloud service provider in your tech stack, ensure that it can handle reverse proxies, load balancing, multi-tenancy support, and other crucial scaling processes.
With business growth, in size and across geographies, you’ll have more data to manage. The application you choose should have the scalability to accommodate the growing data.
A customizable software platform will help you change the tool as per your business requirements.
For example, if you add another product or service to your business, you may need additional features. A customizable platform will help you modify the tool to accommodate these.
To get the most out of your tech stack, ensure its components can communicate with each other.
In other words, the apps and tools in a stack should be able to integrate and share data between them.
Let’s say your marketing stack consists of an email marketing tool and a marketing automation tool.
Both should integrate well so you can easily share customer details and campaign metrics from one system to another.
Your programming language affects the codebase of the app, its architecture, and, by extension, your maintenance costs.
Using one programming language across the entire development stack has the advantage of less context switching, which improves teamwork, simplifies the development process, and speeds up production.
To avoid potential costs related to app maintenance, using open source technologies is a great choice.
Open-source technology often follows reusability principles that help the tech stack to remain dynamic, flexible, scalable, and maintainable.
It is necessary to use a tech stack that your development team is familiar with.
Using experienced developers working with a set of technology they are familiar with will reduce the potential cost of time and effort needed to build an app.
You should not choose a new programming language or a framework just for the sake of the “new” technology
Consider Your Users - Customer Relationship Management
Your team members will be the ones using your tech stack daily. As such, it’s crucial to consider their needs when selecting the tools they’ll be using.
One of the most critical questions to ask yourself is how tech-savvy your team members are.
Customer Retention & Technology Stack
Aim for retention, which is essential for growth. Good retention means you’re providing a service or a product that people value.
That goodwill compounds over time to improve all stages of the customer journey.
Retention depends on the relationship you build with your customers.
Use customer relationship management software to centralize customer communications and manage that relationship.
Again applying the first of our two core questions, your customer journey’s top business objective might be “to reduce churn rate by a certain percentage“ or ”to speed up the time it takes to close a support ticket.“
Examples of Tech Stacks
Because your tech stack will encompass all the tools you use for a given web or mobile app, you must select the right items for a given project.
The size of your tech stack solely depends on the complexity of your business workflows. As your company grows, you may have to add more tools to manage different workflows.
Regardless of the industry they’re in, all teams should be aware of the most common tech stacks — like LAMP or MEAN and its variants.
Often, familiarity with standard stacks can help streamline the stack-building process.
Therefore, select solutions that are easily scalable and can integrate with your existing tools.
This popular tech stack is used by companies like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Spotify. It is based on React Native and Django, or as we like to call it, RAD Stack.
It includes React Native on the front end and Django as the backend framework.
RAD stack’s API layer enables your app to access data and third-party services through a single interface.
This stack is well tested by developers in healthcare, finance, business intelligence, and technology contexts.
There are some drawbacks to Ruby — you may run into challenges with scalability — but it’s one of the best options if you’re trying to cut down development time.
This tech stack comprises MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS, and Node.js. This is an extremely popular stack used in developing dynamic websites and web apps.
All the components are open source, meaning you’ll also have access to a robust developer community that can offer support.
You won’t have to pay for this tech, which wouldn’t be true if you went with non-open source tools.
Backend technologies manage and store the data required by the app’s frontend. The backend is also where key security decisions are made regarding user permissions and data storage.
Back-end development can include programming languages such as Java and .NET and databases and other robust platforms like MySQL and Amazon AWS.
In essence, back-end development strives to create a dynamic end product that requires a server and database to send the right information at the right time.
Developers build and maintain the technology that powers those three components using many programming languages, libraries, and existing software.
Back-end development is necessary for complex websites that require features outside of front-end capabilities.
You Get A Tech Stack! You Get A Tech Stack!
Tech stacks aren’t always built for teams familiar with digital backends. For instance, you can create a tech stack for a marketing agency or marketing team.
These tech stacks may include the following elements:
Data Management Tools
Content Management Systems
In your customer journey, you can send your data to specialized analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, Amplitude, and Mixpanel.
These tools are good for companies just starting that don’t have the resources to delve deeply into mountains of data.
These tools can’t provide a complete picture of the overall customer journey but are remarkable for their specific use cases.
Google Analytics is useful for ad hoc analyses and data exploration but is not the best for dashboarding and acting as your source of truth.
Other popular options include Microsoft Power BI, SAP BusinessObjects, Tableau, Looker, Qlik, and product analytics – an emerging but valuable class of tools used to track, store, and analyze user behavior at every stage of the customer journey.
Some teams analyze this data in the analytics tools themselves; others pipe it into data warehouses (some teams do both).
Why Are Tech Stacks Important?
Adopting tech that enables your business to scale is always important, but it’s especially vital for startups working in your particular niche.
Following the lead of an established company by looking through their tech stack on a service like StackShare may also be effective.
For example, Uber uses a combination of Java, React, Node.js, Nginx, MongoDB, Backbone.js, and Python. Emulating the company‘s approach may help you develop an effective app.
Beyond its day-to-day operational purpose, your tech stack can also help you solve problems when you hit any bumps in the road.
With the right tools, you’ll be able to adapt and bounce back quickly, no matter what you confront.
And with the right tech stack, you can ensure quick development times and future scalability.
Which Tech Stack Is Best For You?
Your tech stack can be a significant investment for your business.
When it comes to tech stacks, there isn’t one size that fits all.
Every organization—and sometimes, every department of an organization—has a set of unique tools for its needs and goals.
You can develop most small projects with a simple tech stack. However, large projects often require complex stacks and more specialized technologies.
You may need multiple technologies for different pieces, and your core framework should be able to handle a heavy load.
Select the tools that bring the highest value to your business and help you streamline your processes. After all, you don’t want to force your team to constantly switch between apps.
You may want to consider your company’s industry and niche, then find digital tools that directly cater to it.
Some business tools will allow you to get a free trial, while some may be open-source and accessible to anyone.
By hand-selecting your tech stack(s), you can optimize your business operations and increase productivity across your entire company.
Developers can craft websites and applications using a nearly infinite combination of technologies, ranging from programming languages, databases, utilities, business tools, etc.
Some websites might have a small range of only three to five core technologies, while others may need 15 or more. In short, technology stacks are dependent on the end product’s goals.
Stack Overflow, a popular question-and-answer site for programmers, lists the various languages and technologies open in a new window utilized to create and run the website.
Build A Shortlist
Create an initial shortlist of three to five products.
If you’re struggling to pick between competing tools, this product comparison template will come in handy for shortlisting the right tools.
Factor in the integration aspect right from the time you’re planning your technology stack and not after you’ve already shortlisted the products.
This will help ensure the selected tools fit into your existing technology ecosystem without any hassles.
Once you’re ready with the shortlist, check if the vendors offer a free trial. A free trial allows you to try out a product without paying for it.
The time span can vary but usually lasts 30 days.
Read Product Reviews
Look for common themes in the reviews, such as recurring complaints/praises around a specific feature, the user interface, or ease of use.
If many users are experiencing a certain issue, you will too.
Pricing And Involvement
Make sure you discuss the current and future pricing options with the vendor.
While going over all these considerations, involve the teams most affected by the tools in your tech stack.
Identifying these teams will be easy in the case of process-specific tools.
Look at the key business challenge(s) for industry-specific tools and see which teams are most affected by these.
Consult with these teams about the considerations as they’d have key process insights.
Look for processes or workflows that software can help automate.
For example, if you send promotional emails manually to customers, consider using an email marketing platform to automate the process and save time.
List all such workflows that can be automated using software to improve efficiency.