What’s the Process for Assembling Our Technology Stack?
For many SMBs, it can be a tricky business to get to grips with a technology stack.
In recent years, we’ve seen a dramatic shift in small and midsize businesses adopting either managed services or personal strategies for their digital transformations.
This means attempting to navigate through the complex world of digitization—along with all its acronyms.
But how do you know whether the technology stack you are being offered is right for you?
How do you know if the solutions you’re on the brink of installing are up to the standard you should expect?
Luckily, here at Impact we’ve seen pretty much everything the managed services industry has to throw at us.
We hope we can use that experience to impart some useful knowledge to you in your digital escapade.
Like the vast majority of our clients, we’re an SMB too, which we think gives us a unique perspective on what small and midsize businesses expect from their digital transformations.
So today we’re going to be taking a look at exactly what goes into a technology stack, and why it can be the difference between success and failure.
What’s Makes a Technology Stack?
A technology stack comprises the solutions that will drive your digital transformation.
When you’re looking at your stack or considering what a service provider is offering, you’ll typically find that there are some vital areas which receive significant recourse:
- IT & Cloud services: Cloud storage and network infrastructure oversight, ensuring you have a well-oiled IT system
- Cybersecurity: Protecting your network to the fullest extent in an increasingly hostile cyber climate
- Process optimization: Eliminating redundancies and improving work processes through solutions like automation
- Marketing: Use digital initiatives to propel your business online and get those all-important leads
What goes into these stacks is crucially important to you and your organization—it’s no good signing up for a swathe of new technologies if they’re subpar and not to the distinct benefit of your enterprise.
How Has Impact’s Technology Stack Evolved?
We at Impact have been growing and adapting our technology stack for well over a decade.
Because of this, we’ve been able to evolve the stack depending on what we believe is best for our clients.
This experience means that our stack has been carefully curated and years in the making.
We don’t have a lot of turnover with partners and nor do we have overlapping partners for our services.
This is because we’ve spent years of trial and error vetting the best tools for the job.
In 2019, Impact was ranked as the 28th best MSP in the world by Channel Futures, so we hope we can give some insight into what makes a managed service provider successful in the eyes of our clients.
Understanding Their Process
If you’re considering using an MSP to provide your technology stack, it’s absolutely worth getting a thorough understanding of what went into creating their stack.
For example, do they use a variety of vendors to provide their solutions? Or do they use the same partners across the board?
You will often find that an MSP that has spent a lot of time curating their technology stack will typically have many different partners for their solutions.
This is simply because for every solution there is typically a best-in-class option, as opposed to a jack-of-all-trades approach which utilizes one partner for several very distinct solutions.
As an example of this, check out how many technology partners we at Impact have.
The reason we have so many dedicated partners for each service is because we are determined that we utilize the best candidates for the job for our clients.
Take security for example; for every aspect of our cybersecurity offering, we have a hand-picked partner we feel is best for the job:
- KnowBe4: Security awareness training management
- Cisco Meraki: Network and mobile device management
- Proofpoint: Advanced spam filtering services
- SentinelOne: Next generation antivirus security system
- CloudFlare: Web application firewall
- CodeGuard: Website backup and restore service
- DigiCert: Secure digital certificates
- Duo: Two-factor authentication tool
- JumpCloud: Active directory-as-a-service and identity management provider
- Passportal: Password management portal
This kind of offering is what the majority of SMBs should be expecting from their service packages, whether it’s security, IT, or process optimization.
Simply put; you want the best solutions for the job.
What Characteristics Will a Good Technology Stack Have?
This is of course what most decision makers will want to know.
Digital transformation is a tricky landscape to navigate, and most executives put their trust in MSPs to guide their digital journeys.
The majority of our clients are midsize businesses with fast growth. As a fast-growing SMB ourselves, we endure many of the same challenges that our customers go through.
Whether it’s downsizing or upgrading your network, implementing new security measures, or automating work processes—we understand these obstacles because we have direct, first-hand experience of them internally.
This extends to the solutions we recommend our clients use—we never offer anything to our customers that we don’t ourselves use. We practice what we preach.
How Do I Know What Kind of Technology Stack I Need?
The simple answer to this is to set up a business assessment.
This is the phase where you will discuss your business goals and any existing strategies.
The MSP should complete a comprehensive audit of your network infrastructure and technologies and be able to make recommendations for you.
They will also interview key stakeholders and employees and perform a competitive analysis to gain an understanding of what you need to get you to your destination.
At Impact, we have a locally focused approach to our operations.
What we mean by this is we place a great emphasis on face-to-face meetings, quick callouts, and a positive relationship with our clients.
Our position is that it works out a lot better for both us and our customers to be able to work as closely as they need us to.
As it relates to the technology stack for our clients, it’s a lot easier for us to determine exactly what they need when we have established a close relationship.
Managed service relationships last a long time, so it’s vital for SMBs to have a partner who understands your company inside-out and knows what solutions are in your interest.
- Expect a quality technology stack to have been curated over many years
- Quality MSPs will typically have a large variety of partnered vendors, each providing a best-in-class solution for that particular task (anti-virus, cloud hosting, rapid app development, etc.)
- SMB MSPs are often good candidates because they have many common experiences with clients and have used the solutions themselves. Bigger MSPs can face difficulties relating to SMBs
- Be sure to establish a partnership with an MSP that cares about seeing your digital transformation succeed. A strong relationship helps both parties fully understand how to achieve their goals
If you want to take full control over your digital transformation initiatives and drive your business to success, speak to one of our experts about your IT needs.