For software companies first starting out, it’s difficult to get far without a fine-tuned tech stack — a strategic combination of tech tools that work together to power your platform and inform your developers. The tools within a tech stack can include programming languages, frameworks, libraries, servers, UI/UX solutions, sales and marketing SaaS tools and many others. Each one plays a vital role in developing your software and keeping the business running smoothly.
When your company is in its early stages, assembling your first tech stack can feel overwhelming. The process to do so may not always seem easy, but it’s essential for getting your company off the ground.
However, there are some simple steps you can take to get started, as well as some important points to keep in mind throughout the process.
One of the first steps you should take is to reach out to your existing network of business colleagues for their advice — especially those who are in a similar industry as you. It can be beneficial to capture details such as the specific tools they use and why, how those tools have helped them scale, how easy they were to learn, how much the tools cost and their flexibility. Seeking this advice will help you identify your own needs, setting you up to conduct your market research with more direction and confidence.
To fully identify your needs, bottom-up decision making within your company will yield the best results. Involving your team in the process will help them to buy in, and as they have unique insights, you can learn directly from them which tools will improve efficiency. This can also provide the opportunity to receive your team’s feedback on specific tech they’ve used in the past or have heard about from colleagues, informing your vetting process. And if your company has a CIO or CTO, you’ll want to involve them early on to ensure that they support the integration and that it fits within your company’s budget. Without the proper internal support or budget, building a tech stack will be an uphill battle.
As you conduct market research with your company’s capabilities, needs and budget in mind, there are a wealth of resources of which you should take advantage. By attending sector conferences and industry networking events, you can meet software vendors in-person, allowing you to network and ask questions. Additionally, you should utilize LinkedIn and TrustRadius to stay up to date with the latest tools and advancements. These two platforms can also help you gauge the sentiment of those who use the tools — third-party validation is invaluable.
Once you have tools that you and your team are interested in, you should first seek out free demos to avoid spending money on a tool that doesn’t support your needs — especially as many require a multi-year agreement. As you test the waters, bring in your team to assess performance and ease of use.
Before making any decisions, there are a few other important considerations to keep in mind.
From a cost perspective, it’s important to consider the long-term value of each tool; in some cases, it can make sense to spend more if it’s more likely to drive revenue or other efficiencies than one that is more cost-effective. And just as it’s beneficial to find the right balance of cost and value, the same goes for finding the right balance of security and flexibility. You’ll want tools that are safe, but not too restrictive.
As your business advances, scalability is another factor to consider — will a platform be able to adopt new features as your needs change or handle increased usage as your team grows? On this end, the quality of vendor support is another key factor. Being able to receive timely technical and educational support from your vendor is an underrated advantage.
With your tools selected and your team aligned, your tech stack will begin to come together, setting your company up for long term success.
About the Author: Andrew Meranus is the EVP of Sales & Revenue at PRophet, the AI-driven DaaS platform that predicts media interest and story sentiment before sending a pitch. In this role, Andrew directs the overall growth, sales and revenue strategy for the company along with CEO & Founder Aaron Kwittken. Prior to joining PRophet, Andrew was SVP, North America at Piano Software, the leading digital experience cloud platform that allows customers to create customized digital experiences and build commercial relationships with end-users.
Andrew has extensive experience in partnerships, alliances and sales having held senior leadership roles at ScreamingMedia/Pinnacor, PR Newswire and Cision.
Andrew resides in Montclair, NJ with his wife, two children, and a dog named Cody!
PRophet is the first-ever AI-driven platform, built by and for PR professionals, to use a proprietary combination of natural language processing and machine learning to predict media interest and story sentiment before you ever send a pitch.