Your software stack is the assortment of software you need to do your job. In many ways, it’s a lot like the human body. Main programs provide vital services, like the brain and heart, while add-ons supplement your day-to-day processes, like arms and legs.
We exercise, eat nutritious meals and schedule doctor visits to make sure our bodies remain healthy and strong. Why shouldn’t we do the same for our software? If you haven’t been monitoring the health of your software, it may be time for your stack to get a checkup. Performing two simple assessments can help find potential issues with your software, get your stack up to speed and improve the efficiency of your business.
Fill the Software Stack Gaps
While gaps in your software stack may seem insignificant, they can have a large-scale impact and hurt productivity over time. All parts of a software stack should work together to improve the quality of your work, but gaps in the stack can slow down your performance.
For example, consider a PR specialist. The news cycle is constantly changing and everyone is competing for top placements. PR pros need to stay ahead of the game and identify top news angles right as they happen as well as target the appropriate set of reporters. Though a PR professional can write intriguing content, it would take hours for them to look up reporters individually without an updated media database. So instead of pitching good content, they waste their time tracking down contact information. Much like an up-to-date media directory, a gapless software stack can make a user’s job simpler and more efficient.
You can find gaps in your stack by tracking and timing your typical workday. This is a lot like keeping a food or exercise log; record what you’re doing at work, when you do it and how long the process takes. After a few days, look back at this log and take notice of the trends and potential time-wasters. Once you start tracking, you might be surprised by how many time gaps are used on certain manual tasks. If you find yourself spending too much time on manual activities, it’s the perfect time to fill those gaps with a software solution.
Eliminate Underachieving Products
After filling in your stack’s gaps, it’s time to figure out which of your current software programs may lag behind or no longer meets your needs. This is where the test gets a little more complicated.
It’s important to continually update your software stack as your company grows. For example, if you open a salon you may need a basic scheduling tool to set up appointments. But over time, your company may expand its services. The old software may no longer be able to support your new staff members, clients and services. This means you’re in need of a new program to manage your increased resources and inventory.
It’s not easy to pinpoint underperforming software, as each user has specific considerations and needs—that’s why you need to do your homework. Using software review sites like G2 Crowd allow you to sort the different functions of software programs and read user reviews to better decide which types of software are successful at similar companies in your industry. With this honest feedback from peers who have used the software first-hand, you may be able to determine potential setbacks in your own software stack.
Keep Calm and Read Reviews
Analyzing your software issues on your own may seem stressful, but with thousands of user reviews, you can always turn to your peers for their unbiased feedback and expert opinions.
Professionals enjoy writing reviews of products in their own tech stacks and sharing individualized feedback—so take advantage of this! You might be able to identify potential gaps and weaknesses in your own stack simply by seeing what another company is doing differently.
By looking at reviews from those in similar industries and companies of comparable size, you can find a solution that suits your specific needs rather than a “one-size-fits-all” fix. This way, you can be confident in your decision-making process and your stack upgrades, even if you aren’t an expert in every software program.
Like your own health checkups, software checkups are meant to correct any weaknesses and boost your productivity. Taking the time for a complete assessment pays dividends, as your business will perform at its peak through a unique set of software solutions.
About the Author
Adrienne Weissman, Chief Marketing Officer, G2 Crowd, is responsible for all things brand, customers and marketing at G2 (News - Alert) Crowd—a leading review platform for business software and services with nearly +70,000 reviews of more than 10,000 products across 600+ categories. She previously led the Brand Marketing Solutions sales team at LinkedIn and held marketing positions at several other major online enterprises including, Digg, Google (News - Alert) and AOL.