If you’re a small business owner, it’s unlikely that you think in terms of a technology stack. But this is essentially a group of technologies that are interdependent and help accomplish specific tasks across the business process spectrum. To meet the business demands in the digital age today and tomorrow, it’s vital for businesses to assess their technology stack to see where they are and where they need to go.
Rather than looking at hardware and software separately, small businesses should consider them more holistically. This would include the network, computing, the cloud, mobility, analytics and communication/web access. These technologies collectively drive processes, strategy and revenue.
The goal of assessing the technology stack is to uncover challenges to improving processes, strategies and revenue. This enables you to evaluate and optimize your technology and plan technology stack modifications for future growth. To help plot that course, here are five things you should consider when assessing your technology stack.
1. Are Business Processes and Technology Secure and Efficient?
You understand that applications, networked desktops, wireless access points, laptops, switches, routers and servers broadly enable business processes. The first question you should be asking to assess them is if they are secure and operating efficiently. For instance, do you have safeguards in place to avoid or overcome the following challenges:
- Network or connectivity outages
- Server crashes because of security intrusions or inadequate compute/processing
- Protocols for lost or corrupted data
- Loss of application or data access
Assessing the security and efficiency of the broader technology stack requires the ability to maintain, monitor, and improve:
- Firewalls and encryption
- Application services
- Physical network access and network services
- User/client access to this infrastructure
- Web servers
- Critical databases, and more
Just because your technology stack works, doesn’t mean it works efficiently and is secure. It takes a detailed assessment of the components within the technology stack and an ability to assess it holistically to uncover friction and security points. The evidence of these challenges is often visible in slow and costly processes.
2. Are Legacy Business Technology Processes Slow and Costly?
Optimum performance and security with desktops, laptops and even on-site software programs are a short three to four years even with patches. They soon become vulnerable to process slowdowns, cyberattack, integration problems and more. This makes it imperative to know the following as part of the assessment process:
- Age of your software and hardware
- Repair, update, patch and replacement history
Gauging staff response on whether computers and applications are slow and cumbersome with constant crashes and failure to perform provides valuable insights.
3. Are Applications and Network Access mobile, Flexible and Agile for Productivity?
Every business operates in a mobile world where the workforce needs productive and collaborative ability from anywhere. If your workforce has difficulty accessing the network, applications and lacks the access to remote desktops, it limits their ability to be productive.
If you don’t have secure remote access to business process software, the network and databases your limiting productivity, collaboration, business growth, and the bottom line.
4. Are Technology Operational, Maintenance, and Support Costs Getting Higher?
Aspects of legacy desktops, servers, switches and software bring more maintenance and cost problems than they are worth. That’s why you should consider how much you’re spending to maintain, fix and replace these parts of the technology stack. This helps you to gauge whether there might be a more cost-effective and efficient path.
Businesses spend 60 to 85 percent of their IT budgets on maintaining legacy hardware and applications that can’t meet current business needs. It may be possible to lower those costs through use of the cloud stack, technology planning, network monitoring and other solutions.
5. What is Our Plan in the Event of Network Downtime?
Your network is made up of several components, so If it goes down, you lose access to connected desktops and servers, databases, applications, and more. Every business needs comprehensive backup and disaster recovery that provides:
- Off-site cloud storage of data for recovery
- Adequate off-site / cloud protection and plans for servers and applications
- Clear mapping of network connection points
- Remote access and communications protocols
There are certainly more considerations when assessing your technology stack. The bottom line is that you are in the best position to optimize its performance in real world business terms with a managed services provider (MSP partner). They can provide the detailed IT infrastructure assessment and managed services to find and remedy hidden problems that affect business operations. By moving to a proactive rather than a reactive stance with your technology stack, your business can lower costs, while increasing efficiency, productivity and business growth for today and tomorrow.