Do More With Less: Simplifying Your Tech Stack

Optimize your tech stack by prioritizing user experience, scalability, and cost-effective solutions, while avoiding the pitfalls of custom builds.
Published on
April 12, 2024

“Early in my career, I managed a customer advocacy platform. The out-of-the-box solution was expensive, but it had really good engagement and was overall a success. Well, it was decided we could make it cheaper and create a better user experience by integrating it into our community using a custom-built tool. We spent six months trying to cobble the system together. Costs ballooned because it wasn’t accurately scoped, and the user experience was bad. Eventually, the program was killed, and it was a driving reason for me to leave the company. Moral of the story? Either spend the money on the right solution if it’s a high priority or find an out-of-the-box solution that meets at least 80% of your requirements.” - Braden Cousin, MODULR Co-Founder

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier. The ability to work with anyone in the world with an Internet connection has revolutionized how we do business. What happens when the very thing we created for ease starts making things more difficult? The complexity of a bulky tech stack can stop enhancing productivity and start hindering it very quickly. Before you know it, your company can be bogged down by tech stacks full of redundant, ineffective, or unnecessary programs. Or maybe you decide to try building something in-house. This can work really well if you have the time, money, and talent to make it happen, but it also comes with its own set of difficulties. Maintaining a lean tech stack not only helps your bottom line but can also improve efficiency, boost productivity, and keep your business more agile. Let’s look at some ways you can streamline your tech stack.

Streamlining Your Tech Stack

A tech stack is the collection of software and technology a company uses to operate and deliver its services. Over time, tech stacks can become bloated with redundant or outdated tools and processes. This can make it difficult for employees to work efficiently and slow down your business. When you simplify your tech stack, you reduce this complexity and make it easier for employees to get things done. Not to mention, you can save a lot of money if you’re paying for redundant services. 

When it comes to startups, things are a little different. You probably haven’t had the time (or the money, let’s be honest) to accumulate a bunch of outdated software. You might be fighting for the budget just to get one tool that will make your job easier. Picking the right tech for the right price that does what you need can be tricky. (More on that later.) 

So, how do you simplify your tech stack? How do you make sure every bit of software is necessary, efficient, and serving your business? Let’s talk about it. 

Search and Destroy Redundancies

One of the first steps to streamline your tech stack is to find and eliminate any redundancies. This may involve consolidating similar tools that complement each other. For example, if you have two tools with communication capabilities, one of them is redundant. Some types of redundancies are easier to spot than others, so you need to be meticulous when looking for them. There is a good chance you have a more comprehensive tool with capabilities you didn’t even know existed! Another thing to look at is what tools people in other departments are using. There is a chance that another team has a tool with the capability you’re looking for. There’s no need for the business to pay for multiple software that does the same thing due to a lack of cross-department communication. 

Eliminating redundancies can also mean choosing a single, comprehensive solution that can replace multiple tools. If you’re using separate tools for project management, communication, and file sharing, find an all-in-one solution that includes all these features. Not only will this reduce the number of platforms your employees need to understand, but it can also streamline workflows and improve productivity. This means less time learning new programs and more time getting things done. 

Cut Back on What You Don’t Need

Periodically, you should address your tech stack and check for any unnecessary or outdated software. This is especially necessary if your business has pivoted on strategy or changed offerings. Any tool or program that isn’t essential to your operations should be cut out. Maybe they’re outdated, have overlapping features with other software, or simply aren’t being used to their full potential. If any of these things are true, it’s time to trim the fat. We recommend taking a look at your stack at least quarterly. A great time to do this is when you’re entering your technology spend for the month/quarter. Take a few extra minutes and make sure you know what every tool does and how it is helping you drive revenue. If you can’t answer those two questions, then maybe it’s time to free up some budget.

Integration and Compatibility

When working to simplify your tech stack, it’s important to choose solutions that integrate seamlessly with your existing systems. Compatibility issues can lead to inefficiencies and make things more difficult for yourself or your employees. Incompatible systems are also a recipe for missed opportunities or inefficient reporting. In order to streamline the client experience, it’s important to keep things working well together. Look for tech solutions that offer a range of integration options and make sure they work with your current infrastructure. 

Sidenote: Don’t put your entire tech stack strategy on Zapier or some other WYSIWYG integration tool. The connections will occasionally fail, and you’ll be left with lost data and a mess to clean up. Try to use tools that have pre-built integrations.

When to Buy vs. Build Your Tech

The decision to buy a premade product or build your own tech can be tricky. It’s a balancing act of what your company needs, the resources available, and time constraints, among other things. Each option has pros and cons. Buying a prebuilt, out-of-the-box solution is cheaper upfront, easier to implement, and comes with features that are tested by the vendor. Pre-built solutions also typically come with built-in support and regular updates. This means your internal teams won’t be rushing to fix issues that might arise or scrambling to update the system. It’ll just work (most of the time). 

Building an in-house system is a massive undertaking that requires a lot of time, energy, and effort. If you have devs who are able to take on that type of task and have the money to do it, we say go for it. Be sure you set reasonable goals, timelines, and budgetary constraints for a project like this—and assign an owner after it is developed. As mentioned earlier, there is a good chance it costs more and takes longer than you’d expect. Doing this allows you to create software that does exactly what you need it to, with no unnecessary features. Ensuring it’s well-built will ideally mean it’s scalable for your business goals. However, the expertise to create software like this does not come cheap. You can’t skimp on costs if you’re building your own system and a lot of start-ups won’t have the ability to hire and retain someone for that. 

When deciding between building and buying tech, it’s important to heavily weigh the pros and cons. Building your own software might give you a competitive advantage and ensure you get exactly what you need, but the costs are high, and implementation can take a long time. Buying a pre-built solution might take up a lot of your budget, but it comes ready to go. You don’t have to hire the talent to build it out, and you’ll have support if issues arise. This debate comes down to how much of a priority it is for your business to have this software. If you’re able to find a pre-built software that does at least 80% of what you need it to, it might be your best bet. Focus on the wins and where it supports your business, and don’t stress too much about the 20% it doesn’t do. 

Building Your Ideal Tech Stack

When building out a tech stack, first identify what you need. Do you need something to help manage tasks or communication? Do you need automated marketing emails sent out after customers perform certain actions? In a startup environment, budget will likely be one of the biggest constraints. Let’s look at a few other considerations you should look at before picking a new software for your business.


Tech solutions need to scale with your business. This is especially important for startups since (ideally) you’ll be experiencing periods of rapid growth and evolving business needs. Your tech stack needs to be able to grow with your business. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself trying to overhaul all your processes to keep up with growth. Being proactive about this will keep your tech stack flexible and agile, which will save you time and money in the long run. 

Data Security

Data security should be one of the most important priorities when adding or removing software from your tech stack. Make sure the solutions you choose comply with relevant data protection regulations. They should also have well-rounded security measures to keep sensitive data about your business and customers safe. Data breaches can have serious consequences for a business of any size, so it’s important to be proactive about protecting your data. Startups can improve their data security by using encryption, limiting permissions given to each employee (based on their role), and performing regular security audits.

Companies have a legal obligation to protect the data they collect under regulations such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) or CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act). Failing to comply with these regulations will cost you time, money, and your company’s reputation. Investing in data security builds trust with customers, partners, and investors alike, which is essential for startups. In this day and age, the importance of data security cannot be overstated. 

User Experience

Consider how simplifying your tech stack will benefit your employee’s experience as users of the software. Intuitive and user-friendly tech solutions are an easy way to boost productivity and morale. It’ll also reduce the amount of time spent training new and established employees on new tech. Find solutions that are easy to use and provide a great experience for your employees. They’ll thank you later! 

A great way to keep your people happy with their software is to just ask them. Send out surveys or ask questions about their experience as a user during meetings. Get feedback on which software they’ve used before, what they liked or didn’t like about it, and if they’d recommend it for your company. Nothing will ever make every single employee perfectly happy, but getting feedback is a great way to reduce the chances of making a mistake. 

Look to the Future

When picking new tech, it’s important to discuss emerging trends, such as AI and automation tools. Think about how these types of trends will impact your business. Then, use that information to make educated decisions to help your company pick the best tech that meets your needs. Remember, you aren’t just buying technology for today—you’re laying the groundwork for the tech stack you need 5 years from now.

Simplifying your tech stack, however possible, can lead to increased efficiency, reduced costs, and more agility to keep up with market demands. By identifying and eliminating redundancies, cutting back on what you don’t need, and using prebuilt systems when custom builds aren’t feasible, you can streamline your operations and set your business up for long-term success. Making careful, educated decisions with your tech stack will keep your employees productive and customers happy. If you’re not sure where to start or need a little expert guidance, book a call with us and see how MODULR can help!

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