Facing the Frankenstack: How to tame a technology monster into a Lovestack

Teresa Short | 2 February 2024

When we talk about the foundations of successful businesses in today's digital age, one term that repeatedly surfaces is the word 'tech stack'. This pivotal set of technologies, software, and tools quite literally stacks up to form the technological backbone of a company. The tech stack is a critical player in everything from managing day-to-day operations to strategising long-term growth. But not all tech stacks are created equal. This brings us to two contrasting concepts that have been making rounds in the tech world: Frankenstacks and Lovestacks.

The terms themselves conjure up vivid imagery – Frankenstack, a mishmash of disparate technologies clumsily stitched together, versus Lovestack, a harmonious and well-integrated tech symphony. The manner in which these stacks are assembled has a profound impact on a business's efficiency, growth, and overall health.

In the upcoming sections, we'll explore their origins, implications, and how they can make or break the technological framework of your business. So, let's embark on this journey to decode the DNA of your business's tech stack and set the stage for transformation and success.

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Understanding Frankenstacks

Imagine a creature from a horror story, cobbled together with mismatched parts, somewhat functional but far from optimal. That's the essence of what the industry refers to as a Frankenstack. This term, interestingly enough, first surfaced in the realm of cybersecurity. A 2017 study on cyber defence strategies described the challenges participants were facing with their technology stacks (source: CCDCOE).

So, what exactly is a Frankenstack? In its most basic form, it's a tech stack that has been assembled piece by piece, often in a reactionary manner. Businesses frequently fall into the trap of adding new software or tools as their immediate needs arise without considering how these pieces fit into the bigger picture.

The consequences of operating with a Frankenstack are far-reaching:

  • Integration nightmares: With each added piece of tech coming from different vendors, with different architectures, the stack becomes a puzzle with forced pieces that don't quite fit.
  • Operational inefficiencies: When systems don't communicate well, workflows are disrupted, leading to redundancy, errors, and wasted time.
  • Cost implications: Maintaining multiple systems, especially ones that overlap in functionalities, can inflate operational costs unnecessarily.
  • Scaling challenges: As your business grows, so does the complexity of a Frankenstack, making it increasingly difficult to manage and scale effectively.

Understanding Frankenstacks is crucial because it represents a common pitfall many businesses unknowingly fall into. It's not just about having a tech stack; it's about having one that truly works for you. In the next section, we'll explore the more harmonious counterpart to Frankenstack – the Lovestack – and see how it contrasts with this technological chimera.

"Imagine every single business function has an application, every department buys their own software, these applications have been put togther in a lab somewhere underground, all sitting apart from itself, and the pieces themselves look like they're sticking out. That's a frankenstack, and a business risk because you're not going to have any data transfer between these applications"
- Sean Fowles,
Head of Revenue and Customer Success at Struto.

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Exploring Lovestacks

After navigating the cobbled constitution of the Frankenstack, let’s turn our attention to its more harmonious counterpart: the Lovestack. The term Lovestack might sound like it’s straight out of a fantasy book, but it’s a very real and attainable goal for businesses seeking technological harmony and efficiency.

So, what exactly defines a Lovestack? Picture this: a tech stack where every component not only performs its designated role to perfection but also communicates seamlessly with other components, creating an integrated and cohesive whole. It’s like a well-orchestrated symphony where every instrument plays in tune, complementing each other and producing a melody that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

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Here are the key attributes of a Lovestack:

  • Seamless integration: Each piece of technology in a Lovestack is thoughtfully chosen for how well it integrates with the rest of the system, ensuring smooth data flow and unified operations.
  • Strategic selection: Unlike the reactionary nature of Frankenstacks, Lovestacks are built with a strategic vision, considering both current and future business needs, with the potential to scale.
  • User-friendly: Lovestacks prioritise user experience, ensuring that the technology is not only powerful but also accessible and easy for the team to use.
  • Efficiency and productivity: With all components working in harmony, Lovestacks streamline processes, reduce redundancies, and boost overall productivity.

Creating a Lovestack is not just about picking the right tools; it’s about envisioning how these tools will work together to support and propel your business. It’s a thoughtful process that requires understanding your business’s unique needs and how technology can be leveraged to meet those needs effectively.

In the next section, we’ll explore the crucial considerations for building a good tech stack, how to know you’ve got a Frankenstack and tips for how to transform your mis-aligned tech stack into a Lovestack.

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Key Considerations for Building a Good Tech Stack

Building a good tech stack is a critical step in ensuring your business's technology supports its growth and efficiency. But what makes a good tech stack? It's not just about having the latest or most expensive tools; it's about having the right tools that complement each other and work together seamlessly.

Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Assess your business needs: The first step in building a good tech stack is a thorough assessment of your business needs. What are your primary business processes? Where are the bottlenecks? Understanding these will guide you in selecting technologies that address your specific challenges and goals.
  2. Scalability: As your business grows, your tech stack should be able to grow with it. Choose technologies that are scalable, meaning they can handle an increasing load, be it more users, more data, or more complex processes.
  3. Budget and ROI: While it's tempting to go for the cheapest options, consider the return on investment (ROI) of each tool in your tech stack. Sometimes, investing a little bit more upfront can save you money in the long run through increased efficiency, better data insights, or more sales.
  4. Security and compliance: In today's digital world, data security and compliance with regulations like GDPR are non-negotiable. Ensure that all the tools in your tech stack adhere to the necessary security standards and legal requirements.

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What Are the Symptoms of a Frankenstack?

Frankenstacks often go undetected under the radar, so how do you know if your business is dealing with one? Here are some telltale signs and symptoms that suggest your tech stack might be more of Frankenstack than Lovestack:

  1. Multiple data entry required and repetitive admin processes: If you find your team entering the same data across multiple systems, it’s a clear sign of a Frankenstack. This redundancy not only wastes time but also increases the chances of errors. Proper integration and automation can correct these issues.
  2. Stakeholders unaware of tech functions: Are there tools in your tech stack that even the closest stakeholders don’t fully understand or know how to use? This confusion is typical of a Frankenstack, where tools are accumulated over time for various reasons but are still there without a clear understanding of their role or benefit.
  3. Dormant tech and unused licences: Look around for technology subscriptions or software licences that you’re paying for but aren’t really using or integrating with other systems. These dormant tools contribute to inefficiencies and unnecessary costs.
  4. Lack of ownership and support for tech: In a Frankenstack scenario, often there’s no clear owner for each piece of technology, leading to a lack of support, poor maintenance, and underutilisation.
  5. Teams operating in silos: Does each department have its own set of tools with little to no integration between them? This lack of alignment, often seen in Frankenstacks, hinders communication and collaboration, leading to operational inefficiencies. It’s hard to implement a successful RevOps strategy if teams are working in misaligned tech.
  6. Inconsistent data and no single source of truth: A Frankenstack typically lacks a centralised data hub, leading to different versions of data spread across systems. Without a single source of truth, making data-informed decisions becomes a challenge.

Identifying these symptoms in your business is the first step in addressing the Frankenstack problem. Next, we’ll discuss how to transition from this chaotic tech mishmash to the streamlined and symphonic Lovestack songbird.

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How to Go from Frankenstack to Lovestack in 6 Steps

Going from disjointed to harmonious is crucial for your business's efficiency and growth. Here's how you can make this transition:

Step 1: Conduct a thorough tech stack audit: Begin with a thorough evaluation of your current tech stack. This means assessing each tool for its usage, effectiveness, and integration capabilities. An audit will highlight the software applications contributing to the Frankenstack and set the path to take to your Lovestack.

Step 2: Identify and eliminate redundancies: Look for overlaps where different tools serve the same purpose. Keeping multiple tools for the same job not only increases costs but also confuses your team. Deciding which ones to keep should be based on their performance, cost-effectiveness, and how well they integrate with other systems.

Step 3: Prioritise integration and compatibility: As you streamline your tech stack, focus on how new tools will integrate with existing ones. The goal is to have a stack where data can move freely and securely between different applications, enhancing overall operational efficiency.

Step 4: Embrace a strategic approach to tech adoption: Instead of reactive adoption, shift to a strategic approach where each new technology is carefully evaluated for its long-term value and fit within the overall stack.

Step 5: Seek expert guidance: Sometimes, the complexity of tech stacks can be overwhelming. This is where we at Struto come in. We’re able to provide insights, recommendations and technical knowhow tailored to your specific business needs and help you navigate the transition from a Frankenstack to a Lovestack.

Step 6: Leverage the power of integration platforms: Integration products such as StrutoCORE and native integrations in tools like HubSpot can bridge the gap between different applications, making the process of creating a Lovestack smoother.

"In an integrated environment, you don't have people capturing things twice. There are so many opportunities to consolidate and take the frankenstack and make it more of a love stack by having consistency."
- Sean Fowles,
Head of Revenue and Customer Success at Struto.

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To conclude...

By following these steps, you can transform your Frankenstack into a Lovestack that supports and drives your business goals. Remember, a good tech stack is a living entity that should evolve with your business, not against it. For personalised advice and solutions in building your ideal tech stack, don’t hesitate to book a call with us. Together, we can make your tech stack transformation a reality.




 

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