20 Industry Experts’ Tips For Tailoring Your Business’ Tech Stack

Whether via marketing from B2B tech product and service providers or daily reports in industry media, businesses are constantly bombarded with headlines about “the latest must-have tech tool.” It can be difficult for leaders (even tech experts) to resist the siren call of a tool that promises to “revolutionize” processes—especially if they know their competitors are using it.

It takes thorough knowledge of their organization and well-grounded reasoning on the part of leaders to determine if the “latest and greatest” tech tool or service is truly something they should pursue. Below, 20 members of Forbes Technology Council share strategies a company’s leaders can leverage to filter out the “noise” and tailor a tech stack that meets their organization’s unique needs.

1. Conduct A Thorough Needs Assessment

To filter tech trends effectively, businesses should align technology choices with specific business goals and challenges by conducting a thorough needs assessment. This approach focuses on solutions that offer tangible benefits and ensures investment in technologies that genuinely enhance operations and drive growth, avoiding the allure of every new tech trend. – Andres Zunino, ZirconTech

2. Identify The Problem You Need To Solve

When facing a barrage of new must-have technologies, decision makers must first ask, “What business problem do I need to solve?” If there is any thought that a new technology might be one way to solve it, then look deeply at the company offering it. Do they understand your industry, your company and your customers? Moving into new territory requires a partner—not a vendor—whom you can trust to guide you. – Zor Gorelov, Kasisto Inc.

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3. Guard Your Corporate Assets

One area of chronic underinvestment in technology persists, and that’s cybersecurity tools and endpoint detection response. No company is too small to manage its corporate assets and guard against phishing, ransomware and decentralized device “insecurity.” There are many cost-effective ways to get started, including your existing email system. The ROI? It’s unlimited. – Thaddeus Dickson, Xpio Health

4. Run An ROI Analysis

You need to run an ROI analysis before running after tools. Otherwise, you will end up with a tool that’s searching for a problem to solve. Look at which tools are going to make it easier for your customers to do business with you—and perhaps hold off on the shiny new internal tools for a while longer. – Mark Johnson, Michigan Software Labs

5. Abandon Incrementalism

One strategy is to abandon incrementalism and embrace products that leapfrog your business’ current security, efficiency and capabilities. Many are hesitant to go this route because of the magnitude of the change or the risk of failure. But a tool that conclusively solves a business problem rather than just incrementally improving an issue can transform a business. – Poornima DeBolle, Menlo Security

6. ‘Diverge,’ Then ‘Converge’

We use a process called “diverge/converge.” We diverge to consider all possibilities, then converge to whittle them down. At the center of this process are experts in their field. These human noise filters are the shortest path-matching technology for a project or company’s unique needs. – Steve Spurgat, Big Human

7. Take A Close Look At Your Business Objectives

It’s easy to get distracted by the latest trending technology, but remember, technology is just a means to an end. Rather than rushing to implement an adoption strategy, first consider how the technology will help achieve your business objectives. Aligning the two will ensure your technology strategy supports your business outcomes and your overall success in digital transformation. – Laura Merling, Arvest Bank

8. Seek To Boost Productivity, And Be Sure To Review Vendors

Identify your specific pain points or goals. Then, select the technology that best aligns with your business goals, solves pain points and improves productivity. Additionally, it’s crucial to consider vendor reputation—a vendor familiar with your industry’s unique challenges and requirements is more likely to understand your business needs and provide tailored solutions. – Ganesh Kirti, TrustLogix

9. Consider Your Unique Work Environment

Identifying the pain points that need to be solved is crucial if you want your business to succeed. Consider whether a technology or solution is essential, and visualize how it will support your objectives within your specific work environment. It’s important to establish that it’s scalable, easy to use and fit for its intended purpose. – Evgeny Likhoded, Clausematch

10. Evaluate The Associated Risks

When considering whether to implement new technology, you need to evaluate the associated risks. I recommend considering factors such as implementation costs, training requirements, data security and scalability. Choose technologies that offer a favorable balance between benefits and risks—the goal is not to pay tribute to trends, but to rely on facts. For that, you can conduct a cost-benefit analysis. – Ilia Kiselevich, SolveIt

11. Ensure Direct Contribution To Specific Goals

The top strategy for any new technology in a business is to align each tool with a core business objective. This means assessing whether the technology directly contributes to achieving a key goal, such as improving efficiency, enhancing the customer experience or driving growth. If a tool doesn’t clearly support an objective, it’s likely not a necessary investment for the business. – Ajay Chintala, Promptly

12. Seek Innovation And Competitive Advantage

As leaders consider a new technology, they should ask themselves, “Will this advance our business goals, and if so, how?” Instead of being drawn to shiny new solutions or being strong-armed by vendors into investments with little to no ROI, the first consideration must be to optimize spending in strategic technology areas that will help you innovate and provide you with a competitive advantage. – Eric Helmer, Rimini Street

13. Start At The End

One tried-and-true strategy is to start at the end. Just assume that a year after launching a new technology initiative, you will be asked by your CFO to show the ROI that justifies the investment. If you force yourself to be precise about the business problem you are solving and the specifics of how you will measure success up front, your odds of achieving your goals will increase materially. – Michael Fitzsimmons, Crosschq | The Platform for Hiring Intelligence™

14. Apply A Rigorous Cost-Benefit Analysis

All tech must have a clear purpose that is in service to the business and its priorities. Leaders must always apply a rigorous cost-benefit analysis when evaluating any technology to understand the value it delivers and how it will improve business outcomes. Always look at areas with high costs and losses and make sure the technology addresses a use case and is easy to evaluate and implement. – Shai Gabay, Trustmi

15. Ask Yourself These Three Questions

Evaluating new technology has become a particular challenge with all the latest artificial intelligence tools hitting the market. Customer-centric organizations need to ask three questions: 1. Will this technology help us better satisfy customers? 2. Will it help the business better leverage its existing resources? 3. Will it help us maintain healthy profit margins? If the answer to those questions is “yes,” then the tool is probably worth a look. – DJ Paoni, Certinia

16. Look At Trends Three To Five Years Out

Technology that maintains revenue growth and a healthy, efficient culture generally makes sense. Innovation happens through tomorrow’s technology, not today’s “noise,” and it is usually unwise to put tremendous effort into today’s technology. Remain relevant, but push out the strategy and roadmap, look at trends three to five years out, and build for that vision. Relevance is overrated; push boundaries when possible. – Jimmie Lee, JLEE

17. Focus On Scalability And Adaptability

For companies navigating the latest tech trends, the key criteria should be scalability and adaptability. It’s crucial to select technology that not only addresses current needs, but can also evolve with the business. This approach ensures long-term relevance and benefits, as the technology can support various functions and adapt to changing industry dynamics. – Eyal Solomon, Lunar.dev

18. Consider The Cost Of Complexity

A key, yet often overlooked, factor is the cost of complexity. Powerful tools are often complex, leading to higher maintenance expenses. A practical strategy is to first assess if a tool meets essential needs, then cautiously evaluate extra features, considering their impact on maintenance and risk. – Varun Kumar, Signifyd

19. Perform A Gap Analysis

Start with your commercial strategy and determine what is required to achieve your commercial and strategic outcomes. Perform a gap analysis of what technology is still needed to enable these outcomes versus what you already have, and categorize needs on a 2-by-2 matrix of “urgency/impact” and “high/low,” focusing first on high-impact, high-urgency needs. – Satnam Singh, CBRE

20. Ensure All Current Platforms Have Been Mastered

Consolidation is paramount at this point. We have tools for everything, but there is simply not enough correlation between them. It’s important to implement a technology strategy that ensures all current platforms are mastered prior to the acquisition of new tools. Companies must have a measured commitment to platform proficiency before implementing new platforms. – Ty Ward, Credence Solutions Group, LLC