The importance of the right technology stack in a digital strategy
As digital experiences become more and more ubiquitous, we’re also seeing a directly proportional proliferation of tools and frameworks for realizing digital strategies. This includes both a variety of differently specialized tools as well as very similar competitive tools with negligible differences.
How, then, do you choose the right technologies to power your brand’s digital strategy? How can you simultaneously eliminate both decision paralysis and the fascination with shiny newly emergent frameworks while ensuring your sites and apps remain modern? And, perhaps most importantly, why is it so key to have the right components comprising your technology stack?
We answer all of those questions in this article. Read on to learn more about the importance of a well-defined technology stack and the considerations you should have top of mind when building it.
Key considerations for building your technology stack
One of the first things that will determine your technology choices is the industry your company operates in. This will not only be important because of the nature of the products or services you offer, but also due to potential legal requirements and/or following established standards and regulations.
Closely tied to this are your company’s mission and its culture. A company promoting sustainability, for instance, will prefer to align itself with technologies based on similar values rather than those supported by companies who don’t share the same vision, or even work against it.
As for the company culture, you should ensure that the technologies you use for internal processes empower your employees as much as possible. Similarly to the above point, you’ll also likely want to ensure that the values of the companies behind those solutions don’t clash with those of your company.
Next comes your target audience. What are their preferences? Do they rely on mobile to such an extent that you should invest in a native app? Where and how much do you need to interact with them? These are all things you’ll need to consider to be able to best reach your optimal customers.
A big part of all this is integration. Having disparate systems working together to provide a great experience has become a trend, but that doesn’t mean you should overcomplicate things just for the sake of it even when your needs are simple.
For brands engaging across numerous channels or operating in IoT, a headless/decoupled approach to managing their digital experiences may be the best fit to accommodate their multichannel reach. The same approach can be used for a single site with a heavily customized front end in the form of microservices.
Finally, you need to consider some of the fundamentals of great digital experiences: data, security, usability/accessibility and performance.
- You need systems that enable you to make data-driven decisions and provide personalized experiences, while also considering the privacy of your users/customers.
- Privacy goes hand in hand with security. By choosing well maintained and regularly updated technologies, you drastically reduce the risks of cyberattacks, which have been on the rise lately. Additionally, in industries dealing with a lot of sensitive data, e.g. healthcare, you need solutions which guarantee the data is well protected and secure.
- Usability is vital to a good digital experience, and that means usability for everyone. Make sure you use technologies that not only produce accessible experiences, but also take care to make the content creation experience accessible and user-friendly.
- Unfortunately, the above points matter little if your site or application performs slowly. Your super slick UI and super secure checkout process will be missed by everyone if the site takes ages to load. Invest in performant and lightweight front-end solutions to ensure a good experience both for users and for the Google algorithm.
Tips for getting the most out of your technology choices
In this section, we’ll take a look at 5 ways to help you make more informed decisions and consequently get more out of your technology investments.
- Be in the loop. You’ll have a much better overview of your options if you keep up to date with new innovations in the field(s) relevant to you. That doesn’t mean you should jump on every new technology you discover, of course, but staying informed will enable you to move with more confidence when an opportunity does arise.
- Don’t adopt new tech willy-nilly. Tying back to the previous point, you shouldn’t haphazardly adopt each new modern framework out of concern of missing out or relying on an outdated technology. Instead, you should:
- Do thorough research and analysis. This can also be done proactively if you’re looking to replace old legacy systems, but definitely once you’ve discovered a potential new solution, or a new trend or problem demanding a solution. A key tip is to also research, if possible, the choices of your competitors and/or other companies with similar needs.
- Build with future-readiness in mind. At the current speed of innovation, if you’re building for today, you might as well be building for yesterday. When making technology investments, be mindful of possible and/or needed integrations and future capabilities, as well as flexibility, to ensure your digital experiences are as future-proof as possible.
- Partner with a specialized agency. This is your best bet for ensuring both the right choices and the best implementation of the choices, as well as their longevity. Not only does a digital agency provide the specific services you need, it can also provide technology consultancy as well as long-term ongoing maintenance.
Bonus point: if you’re adopting new technologies that your employees are very unfamiliar with, make sure to also invest in the necessary training to help them get on board and enable them to make efficient use of the new technology.
Why the right choice matters so much
Finally, let’s look at the benefits of investing in the right solutions for your technology needs.
Top-notch user experience
By choosing the right technology suite, you’ll be maximizing both your internal and external user experience. The user-friendliness of your content management system and great integration capabilities will gain you the efficiency and speed so needed in the highly competitive and fast-paced digital environment.
The main part, though, is of course the external experience. With so much competition, customer experience can serve as a great differentiating factor, and it needs to be more than just adequate - great is now essentially the baseline, so you should aim for more than that if you want to cut through the competition.
A good internal and external UX will entail a much higher return on your investment and enable you to truly scale your business. And that’s ultimately what it’s all about, isn’t it? It only makes sense that you’ll want to make the investment with the highest return, and one with the most long-term potential.
Not getting locked into one system
One of the main reasons for sticking with a technology stack which is no longer adequate is the difficulty of switching to a new one. In extreme cases, this can even mean being completely locked into a particular system, where it’s not only difficult but actually impossible to migrate your data.
By investing in the right future-ready technologies you not only diminish the chances of having to switch, you also have a much easier time in case you do have to switch in the future.
This is what it all comes down to. You’ll want your technology choices to continue benefiting you in the future without drastic overhauls. This means you’ll need both the ability to leverage them to customize your customer-facing experiences as well as the ability to easily swap out different components of the stack in order to facilitate this.
Need additional help?
Choosing and building a technology stack is no easy task and it’s not an investment you’ll want to be making every few years. We hope this article will help you to make more informed decisions when selecting the right solutions for your business.
If you need help selecting the optimal content management system and frameworks for your company, reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help you out with both the decision as well as its implementation.