In the SaaS world, the term ‘tech stack’ is thrown around on a regular basis. In community association management, it may seem like a bit of a foreign concept. Yet anyone who is working in community management is using one of the most important tech stacks across any industry.
To put it simply, a tech stack is a combination of technologies that run a business. From accounting to communication to project management, every piece of technology you use to manage your organizational needs is a part of your tech stack. Let’s say you were asked to list out your tech stack. At first you might think you only have a few tools in your arsenal. But once you consider every aspect of your business – from email to direct mail to social media – the list adds up. That’s why it is so essential to fully understand the investment you have made within your stack, how your team is using each tool, and the levels of integration within each tool that offers a seamless experience for your employees and your homeowners.
When a tech stack is built right for a company, business owners should see a streamlined process that builds efficiency which in turn builds sales. But when built wrong, clunky process can lead to a waste of time and money. To know if you have the tools stacked in your favor, follow this quick guide to see how you can improve the ways in which you and your team uses your tech stack.
Understand the goals behind each tool
Review the tools you have within your tech. Why did you initially make this investment? How did it align with your business goals? Has this tool effectively supported you in achieving said goals? If you find that something within your stack is no longer supporting your business needs, ask yourself why. Perhaps you were never fully trained on how to use it efficiently, or perhaps the software is no longer in line with modern technologies. Take this time to evaluate what should stay, what should go, and what should be replaced.
Once you complete the above exercise, you may find that you need to replace some of your technology with a more modern approach. As you evaluate new tools, ensure that you are laying out concrete goals for the technology. Perhaps you want to provide month-end reports by the first week of the month to your boards, or perhaps you feel that updating your software will provide a competitive edge that will add a certain number of new clients to your portfolio. When it comes to a tech stack, it’s easy to get excited about shiny new objects and purchase products you end up never needing. That’s why it’s so important to have concrete goals for every tool in your arsenal, and it’s important to hold yourself and your technology accountable in achieving those goals.
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Know what you’re getting into
Any time you add something to your tech stack, you’re not just turning on a button and calling it a day. You are changing a process for yourself and your team. One of the biggest mistakes that companies in every industry makes when it comes to a tech stack is adding a new tool without allotting enough time for training, implementation, and routine management. It’s important that your team is aligned with your goals behind your technology and is also aware of the reasons why you are making the investments you have chosen for your business, so be sure to communicate your goals with them. Allot enough time for training for your team so that they feel fully comfortable using the new tool in their daily routine. If you are switching software providers, your new provider should be managing this transition process for you with one-on-one detail and a dedicated project manager. After the technology has been implemented, regularly check in with your team to see if they are using it to their fullest potential. It’s easy to forget that you have a tool under your belt when you’re immersed in business as usual; that’s why it’s so important that everything within your stack IS considered business as usual to your team.
Be sure you have the support you need
You’re a small business. You cannot and should not be sold into a new piece of technology without a person behind that technology supporting you every step of the way. As you’re evaluating new technology, ask probing questions to your salesperson regarding the level of support you would receive during and after implementation. Be sure you understand the training process, the handoff between onboarding and account success, and how you’ll be able to reach a support agent when you have a question or urgent need. After all, at the end of the day, a piece of technology is only as good as the people behind that technology.
While evaluating and adding to your tech stack may feel overwhelming, when done right, the results are incredible. If you’d like tips from the experts on how to manage a tech stack in your favor, read up on the case study from our client, Community Management Associates, Inc.