“Is our tech stack holding back business growth?”
If you’re anything like the dozens of executives I interviewed, this is a question that crosses your mind often. And unfortunately, the answer is likely “yes”. No need to worry, though - you’re not alone.
Here are stories from the tech stacks of four executives to prove it. Give them a read, and take note of the lessons they learned. Each offers a takeaway to help you minimize the effects that outdated, outgrown and/or ill-fitting technology can have on your business.
When Your Tech Stack Holds You Back: Tips from 4 Executives
Tip #1: Fill your tech stack with scalable solutions.
Challenge: “Moving from a one-person operation to a more dynamic organization it became clear that just using the standard email and conference call were not going to be sufficient.”
Solution: “We now utilize a project management system [and] a CRM system to coordinate our business development efforts and a more dynamic video conferencing system.
Prior to making these technological upgrades we had an international business/project close rate of less than 10%. Our out-of-date technology hampered our profits. Now we have a close rate of around 65% and growing.”
Tip #2: Consider customer-centric technology.
Executive: Shawn McGowan, CEO, Scribe Software
Challenge: “While visiting with Scribe customers and partners shortly after joining in 2014, I heard a common theme related to support self-service.
As we evaluated our existing toolset we quickly determined that our case management system was focused on internal users and had very limited capabilities for self-service enablement.”
Solution: “Having had great success with our Salesforce Sales Cloud deployment we made the decision to implement Service Cloud. This customer-centric tool enabled us to meet the self-service goals of our external users and improve our internal staff’s experience.”
Tip #3: Bring in a (trusted and experienced!) partner.
Challenge: “In 2016, we decided to move our ecommerce platform from Shopify to WooCommerce.
Unfortunately, the implementation was extremely poor. Several important security measures weren’t taken, and our new Wordpress-based website was promptly hacked. The first hack gave users a browser warning saying ‘this site contains malware and is trying to steal your personal information.’ Not good!
The next day, we received an email, threatening to ‘turn the site into an adult site’ if we did not send Bitcoins...we realized that a second hack occurred, and our Google search results listings were showing with plenty of inappropriate text. The website itself didn’t seem to be affected, but when customers were searching for our brand or website, the Google listing looked very unsafe. This decreased our website sales by approximately 30% in July and August of 2016.
We didn’t fully understand the security measures needed when setting up a Wordpress site. We trusted the outsourced IT team we were working with to ensure our site was protected. Not only did they fail to prevent the hacking, but they failed at fixing the tainted Google result listing.”
Solution: “We eventually got everything back to normal after hiring a different Wordpress security expert and spending several weeks consumed with learning everything we could about this type of search result hack.
We moved back to Shopify and found new IT partners after this incident – and have been growing steadily ever since!"
Tip #4: Prioritize tech stack updates.
Challenge: "As of 12 months ago, our business found ourselves in a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace, as we had neglected much needed technological investments over several years. As a senior team, we recognized that a lack of sales tools had caught up to us and was now impacting our sales reps' abilities to compete effectively in today's marketplace.”
Solution: “The decision was made to allocate significant resources to new custom-built CRM systems, electronic applications, up-to-date bid tools and a whole suite of iPad-based presentation tools, all with the intent to arm our employees with better sales tools, equipping them for even greater success. We knew that having more effective and successful sales reps ultimately drives our vision to put our employees and customers first.
A lesson learned from that experience was that technology updates are often in the ‘important but not urgent’ category...those short-term gains by not spending tech dollars quickly jeopardize your long-term ability to evolve, compete and stay relevant in today's hyper-competitive landscape."
Whether your technology is outgrown, outdated or simply not the right fit, implement scalable, customer-centric solutions, bring in partners as needed and prioritize tech updates. Focusing on these four priorities will help you ensure that, as often as possible, your tech stack fulfills its primary role as a growth enabler.
Looking for other ways to grow your business? Check out this on-demand webinar: