Rationalising Your Technology Stack 101

If there exists a business problem, you can be pretty sure someone has created a technology solution to fix it. We know that sales teams alone use an average of 10 different tools to close deals, and most of those professionals feel overwhelmed.

Large organisations in particular often find themselves juggling a confusing melange of technology, with no single point of expertise capable of determining what is and isn’t necessary.

Superfluous technologies might include things like:

  • solutions brought in with a merger or acquisition, which overlap with existing ones within the business
  • tools that are useful within their niche but serve little purpose within this business
  • tools with a single-use case that could be addressed by a more efficient multi-purpose tool, or
  • legacy solutions to problems that no longer exist

All technology solutions require training, maintenance and management, and they’re usually charging you a licencing fee, too. Licences, as well as the administrative load and time invested, can all add up to a bloated and inefficient collection of unnecessary technologies weighing your organisation down—and, often, the larger the organisation, the harder it becomes to sort out what is and what isn’t adding value.

Rationalising your tech stack means discovering whether or not the costs are worth what benefits these solutions provide.

Here’s how.

  1. Make a list

To get a good idea of the scope of your potential problems—and potential savings—you’ll need to begin with understanding your current technology use. Consider what products and services you use, how much they cost you, how much training and time each requires to use, how many licences you might be paying for, and what functions and capabilities each has.

If anyone in your organisation can sign up for new technology with a company card, or the business has gone through mergers, divestments and acquisitions and been left with obsolete or overlapping solutions, you might be surprised at how long this list actually is.

  1. Gauge value

Once you understand exactly what technologies your organisation holds, assess their value to the business before you commence any enthusiastic chopping. It’s best to do this in a reasoned, planned and systematic way.

To that end, consult the relevant stakeholders in affected departments, determine what the value added by each technology solution might be, and measure it against your business’s broader long- and short-term goals, strategic plan, and daily functions. Make sure you involve the actual end-users of technology solutions in the process, as they’re likely to know the solution best.

You may choose to assign high, medium and low values to each technology solution by how critical they are to your business activities. Either way, at the end of this process you should know exactly what technology solutions are in use, and how much value they add.

  1. Judgement calls

Compare value and cost. There will be some clearly necessary technology solutions and some clearly unnecessary ones, but most of them will probably fall into the grey no-man’s-land between those two extremes.

In this grey area, it’s worthwhile to consider if there are alternatives to axing functions while still trimming expenses. For example, it may be possible to reduce the number of licences required for some solutions, or consolidate tools where a multifunctional solution will offer a stronger return on a similar amount of training and administrative load.

But in the end, this step is also where you get to say goodbye to your superfluous technologies. Discontinue your relationship with technology providers who do not add value to your business, and strengthen your relationship with those who do.

  1. Review your processes

There’s a balance to be struck between central control of the technologies in use at your organisation, and empowering your staff to actually do their jobs.

It may be that a few too many people within your structure are able to sign your company up to new technology solutions. But it’s also possible that rigid control over who gets to add a login to your CRM system is slowing you down and creating its own problems.

Take this process as an opportunity to review how you go about accessing and using technology solutions within your organisation. How does your use of technology suppliers stack up when compared to your regular supplier research processes?

  1. Stick to it

This likely isn’t a one-off process.

There are hundreds of new technology solutions in development right this moment, some of them for problems nobody has even invented yet. It’s a safe bet that, at some point, you will end up with more superfluous licences, more overlap between different solutions, and more unnecessary expense of time, money and labour.

To combat it, make rationalising your technology stack an iterative process with a standard operating procedure. You’ll reap the benefits in a more streamlined, efficient technology stack.

Still not sure where to start? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly team for a zero-obligation chat about how you can streamline your technologies.

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