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Are You Getting the Most From Your Current Tech Stack?

Tech Stack

Does it feel like your current IT solutions are a bit disjointed at the moment? Like employees are singing from different hymn sheets?

You’re not alone.

The technology stack of businesses big and small has changed a lot over the last six months. Your software suite has probably got bigger and a fair bit more complicated. You’ve probably got more devices to manage, too. 

All this technology can be overwhelming for business leaders and staff — not to mention incredibly expensive. Yet we continue to buy more software, further complicating matters and adding another subscription invoice to the pile. 

Buying new technology might be an easy solution, but it’s not the best one for your business. With at least another six months of remote work looking more than likely, it’s time to take a look at the solutions you currently have in place and ask yourself: 

Are you getting the most from your current technology stack?
 

The Problem With Lockdown IT Solutions

Drastic changes were needed when businesses were suddenly forced to work remotely in March. Among other things, that meant adopting a raft of new technology to enable employees to work effectively at home. Softphones, video conferencing, productivity suites, employees bought and downloaded what they needed at will, often before business leaders could put together a coherent strategy.

Unfortunately, that often meant employees were downloading different pieces of software for the same tasks even within the same company. That didn’t matter too much to most businesses, however. It might seem strange now, but the overwhelming feeling was that remote working would be a very temporary situation. Most people expected everything to return to normal in a few months. 

It’s quite clear now that’s not the case.  

This puts businesses in a sticky situation. You may have been able to muddle along with a complex stack, but those multiple solutions are going to have a negative impact on your business’ efficiency and finances going forward.

Video Conferencing and Other Software Problems

Video Conferencing

One of the most common problems we see businesses trying to tackle is video conferencing. Putting aside the fact that half your company doesn't like showing their face on webcam full stop, everyone seems to have their own preference when it comes to the actual technology.

Even within the same company, different employees like using different platforms and constantly chop and change how they have meetings. Some are using Zoom, others Slack and now people are switching to Microsoft Teams. That’s on top of the existing software that businesses already had access to. 

Nor is the problem limited to video conferencing platforms. Is it Google Docs or Microsoft Word? Slack or Skype? Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Cloud

The problem is all these solutions come at a cost. Both in terms of the fiscal cost of the subscription and the time and energy lost when employees have to switch between them.

Hardware Issues Are Equally Complicated

It’s not just convoluted software solutions businesses have to contend with. Because so many employees haven’t returned to the office, companies haven’t got to grips with business devices, either.

Some bought brand-new devices and delivered them straight to employees. Others let staff use their personal equipment as a stop-gap. In both cases, the hardware is unlikely to be secure enough to pass the kind of strict regulations that are common in many industries like accountancy and law. 

Businesses no longer have to deal with the headache of getting people up and running, but they now face the much bigger headache of managing these devices going forward. That might be simple if everyone was using business-owned IT equipment that can be updated remotely, but it’s much harder when all manner of devices are being used across your IT infrastructure. 

Let’s be clear; this isn’t us trying to sell you a solution. You can encourage employees to think carefully about regulatory and data protection best practices while working from home to keep your business compliant. But you need to be aware of the issues to have that conversation.

Don’t Buy Yet Another Solution, Make the Most of What You Have

Get the most out of your tech stack

When businesses need to come up with a definitive solution, it often means going to the market to buy yet another service. But another piece of software or hardware isn’t going to solve this problem. The trick is to assess what you already have and then squeeze every last drop of value from those existing solutions.   

Using an existing solution comes with many benefits.

  • First and foremost, it’s obviously much cheaper to use something you are already paying for than to go to the market and buy something else. Even if you need to pay for an upgraded subscription to get access to the features you need, you may well be able to save money by cutting all of the other unnecessary tools you are currently paying for. 
  • Second, users (at least some of them) will already be familiar with the solution if it’s currently in use.
  • Third, the software is probably already installed on the vast majority of machines.
  • And, fourth, you have an account already set up to download and access the software if not. 

That’s not to say businesses shouldn’t ever go to the market for a new tool. If you don’t have a solution yet or your existing solution doesn’t do the job you need, then going out into the marketplace is the best solution. 

But you probably don’t need to do it. Here’s a real-life example from a client of ours. A large, reputable insurance company had a local team of 85 people working in a call centre capacity. When lockdown started, the company downloaded a patchwork of solutions to allow employees to work from home. In several cases, they were using multiple tools for the same purpose. As time has gone by and under our guidance, however, they’ve been able to take stock of the solutions in place across the team and have been able to migrate everyone to a single Voice-over-IP system. Employees continue to work from home, but now everything is far easier to manage and cheaper to run.

Make Your Software an Enabler

There are now pockets of businesses that have taken staff back into the office. Still, the vast majority of companies continue to work from home and plan on doing so for the foreseeable future.

Businesses should no longer just be thinking about how to facilitate remote working, they should be thinking about how to turn remote working to their advantage. That’s why we’re giving the following advice to our clients:

Don’t think of your technology stack as a solution, think of it as an enabler. 

Your company can offer employees a huge perk if you’re able to set them up to work from wherever they want (the home or the office) with no disruption and seamless communication between colleagues. 

Even if you don’t sell remote working as a perk of joining your company, taking time to assess your current technology stack and make efficient use of what you have will make it all the more manageable when you eventually do need to onboard new employees in a remote environment. 

Doing so will help you change your relationship with the office, too. In the words of our client, TBL Accountants, the office is no longer a place of work, it’s a facilitator for business. In other words, it is there if people need it, but it’s no longer essential. 

So, how many different software solutions are you currently juggling? Maybe it’s time to take a long hard look and see what’s really worth paying for. As always, we’re only a phone call or live chat away if you need help.

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