What Is a Tech Stack? And How to Perfect Yours

What Is a Tech Stack? And How to Perfect Yours
Learn all about a what a tech stack is and where to start when building your own for your business.
by Dawn Blizzard Dec 06, 2023 — 4 min read
What Is a Tech Stack? And How to Perfect Yours

From the world’s largest companies to the smallest mom-and-pop shops, today’s businesses run on technology. Software is increasingly integral to operational processes ranging from sales and marketing to customer relationship management and payroll. A modern business’s dependence on tech likely evolved over time as the business grew. This may have led it to add solutions one by one as needs arose. All too often, the result is a messy assemblage of tools that don’t work well together, which can cost the business time and demand extra effort from employees. According to a national survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the average small business owner relies on three different technology platforms to help them run their business, though many use even more.

But there’s a better way — a single integrated solution that can do everything in one place, enhance efficiencies, and accelerate business success. Here’s why consolidating your tech stack, where possible, is so important for success right now.

What exactly is a tech stack?

A technology stack (or “tech stack”) comprises all the software and technology tools needed to support an entire business or one of its functions. For instance, all the applications used by an organization’s marketing department comprise its marketing tech (MarTech) stack, while all those used to protect against cyberattacks make up its cybersecurity stack.

The concept of the tech stack originated in the world of software development, where it denotes all the technologies used to create a new technology or part of one. Traditionally, these stacks could include programming languages, libraries, frameworks, databases, operating systems, and server hardware. All of these technologies needed to work together seamlessly in order for the software to run and, ultimately, create value for the business.

Choosing the right components in a tech stack is critical, since this decision impacts a project’s costs, how well the software in the stack will perform, and how easy (or hard) it will be to maintain. The interoperability of all of the technology is key. The better the various components of a tech stack work together, the easier it will be to use these technologies efficiently and effectively.

This is particularly true for a business’s tech stack because software often plays such an important role in keeping internal processes running smoothly. It also provides the channel through which many of the business’s most important relationships — with vendors, partners, and suppliers — are maintained. And it is many customers’ first or primary point of contact with businesses ranging from retailers to restaurants. Keeping your tech stack up to date and running smoothly helps ensure your customers will have great experiences when they interact with your company online. 

What’s in a tech stack? 

The list of software solutions that typically make up a small business’s tech stack is usually long. This is because technology is a key ingredient needed to maintain happy customer relationships, smooth-running operations, and high-performing teams. Businesses use software to help manage their employees and rely on it to perform functions like payroll and accounting, centralizing communications among workers, scheduling shifts and time off, and maintaining HR documents like employee handbooks. They also use it to engage current customers and reach new ones with email marketing, loyalty programs, digital gift cards, and automated text messaging campaigns, helping them drive new shoppers to online and physical stores. Square Point of Sale (POS) software makes checkout possible, allowing businesses to issue invoices and collect payments, and even consolidate bookings and appointment scheduling.  

Growing numbers of today’s small businesses are looking to cloud-driven software to accomplish things that they previously outsourced to external contractors. Leaning on software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions can create countless efficiencies in multiple areas of the business, since they’re often just as effective —and far less expensive—than hiring a vendor for certain functions, especially when your needs aren’t complex.   

Effectively using tech in your business can result in multiple cost and process efficiencies, but these efficiencies are multiplied when a single system can accomplish multiple different functions. That’s because there’s no need for employees to learn multiple different tools, to deal with the hassle of moving data between different platforms, or navigate complex workflows.

How to future-proof your tech stack

Selecting the software that makes up your tech stack is among the most important business decisions you’ll ever make, so it’s important to take a thoughtful and strategic approach to the process.

Start by assessing your business’s needs and goals. Consider what sets your business apart from competitors, what your business is currently known for, and what you would like it to be known for. By gathering data about your business — where it is now, where it will be in a few years, and where you’d like to go in the future — you can make more informed strategic decisions and formulate plans with confidence.

Then, you’ll want to map your business objectives onto the available software solutions. Here are a few things to look for:

No matter which apps are in your business’s tech stack today, it’s likely that you’ll need new tools as your customers’ preferences evolve and the state of the art advances. By partnering with a company like Square that’s always incorporating the latest technologies into its seamlessly interconnected platform, you can be ready for growth and change, no matter what the future may bring.

Dawn Blizzard
Dawn Blizzard is a professional content marketing writer and content strategist who has written for technology publications and brands including Microsoft, IBM and Intel for more than a decade. With a PhD in English literature, she has an extensive research background, which enables her to grasp technical information quickly and transform expert insights into messages that resonate with general and business audiences. Title: B2B Freelance Technology Writer


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