How do you think about technology? Do you find it intimidating and overwhelming or exciting and helpful? Either way, we all understand technology is necessary to build and grow a business. But understanding the need is only part of the process. You also have to be able to choose the right solutions for your business and implement them; this is where the overwhelming part might come in.
You’ve probably heard people talk about building a tech stack. A tech stack is the collection of technological tools, web apps and software your teams use every day to get work done. Building a tech stack is a great way to keep track of your solutions and their functions. The recommendations outlined below should make your life easier and keep you from getting overwhelmed as you build or expand your tech stack.
- Create a plan. Do you have the capacity and knowledge to add technology solutions? Who will own the solution(s) and be responsible for implementation? You will likely run into roadblocks if there isn’t a strong business case for the solution(s) and an approved path for getting people on board.
- Prioritize strategy. With your business strategy and outcomes as your base, think about what you need to operate and which processes need to be more efficient and streamlined. You don’t need to tackle every process at once; start slow and ensure you understand each technology solution and its capabilities.
- Compare tools. Tools exist for almost every task imaginable; try to focus on the tools that meet your needs and keep popularity and price out of the conversation. Just because everyone uses it and it’s cheap doesn’t make it the right choice for you. Take time to do your research upfront so you are prepared to ask the right questions as you evaluate different options.
- Consider your team. How comfortable is your team with technology? How easy is the new technology to use? If it’s challenging to use and has limited training available, it may not be the right choice. Get your team involved in the process as you’re comparing tools so they can be involved in the demos and provide input.
- Consider your audience. What is the output the technology allows you to create? Is it easily digestible, and does it add value for your clients or internal teams? Make sure the reporting capabilities meet your needs and can be customized.
- Choose flexibility – Technology is constantly advancing, and that will not change. Choose solutions that can scale with your business and have open integration capabilities so your programs communicate with one another. As you grow, you’ll want solutions that can grow with you and easily transition data and historical information from one solution to the next.
- Utilize partnerships. Once you make your initial choice, take advantage of the company’s setup and training. Use the partnership to make the program better for you, your clients and the company. You want to choose a partner who values your input and is willing to listen to improve their solution.
- Don’t be afraid. Don’t let fear of the unknown or the cloud keep you from implementing new solutions. Information stored in the cloud is actually safer than information stored on your machine and provides many other advantages.
- Don’t go overboard. Choose what you feel is the best technology, and then implement it and use as much of its functionality as possible before adding more solutions. You don’t need three different programs that can do the same thing.
- Ask an expert. You can do it on your own, but it’s helpful to check with people who use these tools every day. Maybe there is an industry association you’re involved with or a networking group that shares ideas. Utilize these contacts to understand different use cases and best practices.
Understanding your business or client needs is the first step in creating a tech stack. Only with that understanding can you move forward in the process. Deciding on the best solutions to create a tech stack is difficult, but with early preparation and research, the process will go more smoothly and keep you from getting overwhelmed.
UHY has an entire team dedicated to guiding clients through the process of choosing, designing and implementing accounting and finance solutions to create a tech stack. If you’d like to learn more or talk to one of our experts, please contact Kane Polakoff.