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Thursday, June 20, 2024

We All Have a Tech Stack, But Are We Using It Right?

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Khushbu Raval
Khushbu Raval
Khushbu is a Senior Correspondent and a content strategist with a special foray into DataTech and MarTech. She has been a keen researcher in the tech domain and is responsible for strategizing the social media scripts to optimize the collateral creation process.

Feeling overwhelmed by your tech stack? Tech experts share their #1 tip to maximize efficiency and get the most out of the tools you use. From personal users to business professionals, this advice will help you streamline your workflow and unlock your tech’s full potential.

Our reliance on technology has never been greater in today’s hyper-connected world. But with so many tools and platforms available, it can be overwhelming to know how to best utilize them. We contacted a panel of tech experts to help you navigate this digital landscape. We asked them one key question: what’s the most important advice for getting the most out of your tech stack? Their diverse backgrounds and experiences offer many insights applicable to everyone, from personal users to business professionals. Get ready to learn how to streamline your workflow, maximize efficiency, and unlock the full potential of your tech ecosystem.

Asanka Abeysinghe, Chief Technology Officer, WSO2

Asanka Abeysinghe, Chief Technology Officer, WSO2

I advise embracing a “platformless” approach to get the most out of your tech stack. This means strategically consuming existing platforms instead of investing in building your own. The essence of the “platformless” concept is to leverage the flexibility, scalability, and advanced features of existing platforms, which have already been tested and proven in the market.

Building a platform from scratch often involves significant resource allocation, potential risks, and a longer time to market. Moreover, it can lead to inflexibility as business needs evolve. By adopting a “platformless” approach, organizations can avoid these pitfalls. Instead, They can focus on consuming readily available platforms to meet their specific needs, allowing for more agility and innovation.

This strategy enables businesses to focus on their core competencies and customer needs. It also ensures that they are not sidetracked by the complexities and challenges of platform development, thereby enhancing efficiency and potentially reducing costs.

In conclusion, consider adopting a “platformless” model to fully capitalize on your tech stack. This approach will allow you to harness the best of existing technologies, ensuring a more agile, efficient, and cost-effective operation.

Charbel Khneisser, Vice PresidentSolutions Engineering – EMEA, Riverbed

Charbel Khneisser, Vice President, Solutions Engineering - EMEA, Riverbed

Today’s tech stack is the primary contributor to business resiliency and agility. Hence, IT Leaders should first be able to map outputs to outcomes properly. If this is done right, the choice and makeup of the tech stack should align with simple forward-looking criteria: AI Ready, Programming Language in use, Open API Platform, Ecosystem Integration capabilities, and user-centric or user-friendliness since all IT ecosystems today are built to serve the business, which has end-users at the core of what IT does. 

Finally, I would say a tech stack that is not immune enough won’t meet the resiliency demands of the modern enterprise. This is why an open, unified observability suite is a must, not only for protecting the tech investments the business has made but also for offering the insights needed on end-users behaviors and sentiments so that the business can remain agile enough to adapt to its users’ demands.

Christian Borst, Chief Technology Officer – EMEA, Vectra AI

Christian Borst, Chief Technology Officer - EMEA, Vectra AI

See your tech stack as an ever-evolving and changing organism enabled and protected by a matching security approach. Follow the same principles when designing your security stack as you would with your overall tech stack — agility and simplicity. To that end, implementing siloed and costly security controls will limit your ability to maximize value because this only increases complexity. A balanced, risk-based approach, with investments in visibility on threat exposure and attack activities, allows for a more agile tech stack. Security is a data-driven discipline, so focusing on outcomes is critical.

A powerful approach to this is to build your defenses on a data fabric underpinned by what we call “Attack Signal Intelligence.” Today, your tech stack is invariably some variation of a hybrid enterprise model. Attack Signal Intelligence was designed with the hybrid enterprise in mind. It is an effective, autonomous, united tool to bring morale back to beleaguered security teams.

Empowering your security teams with Attack Signal Intelligence allows them to focus on continuous innovation rather than fixing and rebuilding systems, as attackers are faster than your defenders.

Also Read: Nvidia Unveils ‘Blackwell’ Chip, AI Robots at GTC 24

David Boast, General Manager, Endava

David Boast, General Manager – MENA, Endava

To maximize the potential of your tech stack, you need to focus on simplification and automation. Strip away what is unnecessary and keep only what adds value and addresses real-world problems. Ensure that different technologies communicate seamlessly, sharing data and insights efficiently. This reduces duplication of effort and errors while growing the value and longevity of your technology assets.

Prioritize automating simple and repetitive tasks to free up your team for more strategic work. This approach streamlines operations and encourages innovation, as your team can focus on creative solutions rather than routine tasks. 

Build continuous learning into your strategy. Embrace failure and see it as an opportunity, not a threat. Ensure everything scales. If it doesn’t scale, don’t do it. Your tech stack’s effectiveness in the future depends on its ability to evolve with your business and the technology landscape.

Jessica Constantinidis, Field Innovation Officer – EMEA, ServiceNow

Jessica Constantinidis, Field Innovation Officer - EMEA, ServiceNow

Your technology is an ecosystem — think integration, holistic costs, and delivering concrete responses to your team’s needs.

Your technology estate is not comprised of just one tool or technology, so having a holistic view is key to getting the most out of your stack. If you have technology that is tedious to maintain or difficult to integrate, consider opting for a more integration-friendly solution. Configuration is not an issue, but integration can be a resource drain and cost-prohibitive. 

When procuring technology for your tech stack, look at the overall cost. Most of the costs are hidden in maintenance, updates, migrations, and re-integrations. Your tech stack is essentially an ecosystem, so a platform approach is often the key to building a successful tech stack. 

When selecting a new technology to add to your stack, challenge the business to think about their needs regarding use cases rather than just wanting a solution with the latest features. The best way to do this is to sit next to the person who needs to use the tech and ask them to walk you through their duties. If you approach new tech buys from this perspective, you will own a stack that meets the business without breaking your bank account or causing management nightmares for your IT team.

Jorge Longo, Vice President – MEA, Dynatrace

Jorge Longo, Vice President - MEA, Dynatrace

Ensure your team has strong visibility across all the layers and components of the tech stack. Only then can you identify and respond to evolving issues – from mainframes to multi-cloud environments, to maximize its use.

 

Joseph Carson, Chief Security Scientist and Advisory CISO, Delinea

Joseph Carson, Chief Security Scientist and Advisory CISO, Delinea

Invest in your IT people as much as you do in your technology. Today, it is all about getting the balance right, and technology solutions, including security solutions, should also enable the business to add value where possible. However, technology is only as good as how it is implemented. That’s why investments to improve the skills and experience of your employees ensure that the technology solutions you use in your company are installed, deployed, configured, integrated, and secured as best as possible, providing benefits to the whole company. 

Morey Haber, Chief Security Advisor, BeyondTrust

Morey Haber, Chief Security Officer at BeyondTrust

While every cyber security professional could rattle off a dozen recommendations to protect an organization’s tech stack, I believe that all organizations should embrace privileged access management (PAM) regardless of end-of-life technology, poor authentication practices, or lack of endpoint security. 

PAM comprises several security disciplines to protect passwords, privileged accounts, session monitoring, directory bridging, least privilege, and secure remote access for employees, contractors, and vendors, all in one platform. Regardless of the existing security flaws within an organization, PAM protects the most sensitive accounts and data from abuse by not allowing a threat actor to access the most sensitive privileged accounts. By restricting access to data, workstations, and servers, attacks can be mitigated simply by the lack of privileges to infect a system with malware, ransomware, or even extract data. In fairness, PAM will not stop every attack, but as a single best recommendation, it can stop most identity-based attacks and ensure all access is appropriate.

Omar Akar, Regional Vice President, CEE and META, Pure Storage

Omar Akar, Regional VP, Middle East and Emerging Africa, Pure Storage

While the Middle East economy has been extremely resilient over the last couple of years and continues to notch respectable growth, regional businesses are not immune to some global macroeconomic headwinds. When it comes to getting the most out of their tech stack, the biggest hurdle for businesses over the next 12-18 months will be to ensure they are prudent in spending their money while being conscious that short-term cost reductions don’t come at the expense of competitive advantage.

Balancing budgetary pressures and the insatiable need for more data storage will drive demand for subscription-based models in the year ahead. There are several cost and goal-driven reasons for this:

  • Total cost of ownership (TCO) savings: By moving from technology ownership (CapEx) to subscriptions (OpEx), enterprises can achieve significant long-term TCO savings over a product’s lifetime
  • Services drive demand: Customers recognize that SLAs are where the value is in subscription models. They should expect vendors to have robust guarantees to ensure the customers get maximum value from their subscriptions.  
  • Passing on oversubscribing risk: With a pay-as-you-use model, organizations don’t need to consider oversubscribing and paying for more than they need. 
  • More cash in the bank to invest elsewhere: Today’s demanding business landscape means it’s critical to ‘out-innovate’ competitors to stay ahead. Removing technology assets from the balance sheet frees up cash and opens up opportunities to invest and be creative.
  • Supercharging sustainability goals: Subscription models enable enterprises to consume only the storage they need, reducing unnecessary data center power and cooling and significantly cutting the carbon footprint of data.

The technology behind subscription models is just as important as their simplicity. It must be easy to operate and deliver access to the latest innovations, like flash storage, where some vendors are evolving to deliver the performance needed to manage demanding data growth. The cost benefits and ease of use will make subscription models attractive in the year ahead.

Also Read: Adapt or Be Left Behind: Top Tech Priorities for a Changing World

Paul Baird, Director of Cyber Security Operations and Engineering, Advanced

Paul Baird, Director of Cyber Security Operations & Engineering, Advanced

The key to extracting the maximum value from your tech stack lies in the principles of consolidation and simplification. Over time, security leaders have often found themselves grappling with a proliferation of disparate tools that fail to communicate effectively with each other and may also duplicate functionalities. The abundance of specialized solutions can lead to complexity, increased management overhead, and a potential gap in overall security posture.

To address these challenges, tech leaders should adopt a strategic approach focused on consolidation. This involves reviewing the existing tech landscape to identify redundancies and overlaps. By streamlining the tech stack, organizations can eliminate unnecessary complexity, reduce operational friction, and enhance efficiency. A unified and integrated tech ecosystem allows seamless tool communication, fostering a more collaborative and responsive security infrastructure.

Crafting a forward-thinking strategy is essential for both short and long-term success. This involves addressing immediate needs and considering scalability, flexibility, and adaptability to emerging threats and technologies. By aligning technical capabilities with the organization’s overarching goals, leaders can create a tech stack that is robust, efficient, and well-positioned for future advancements. Consolidation and simplification pave the way for a more coherent, resilient, and future-ready technology foundation. 

Sascha Giese, Global Technical Evangelist, Observability, SolarWinds

Sascha Giese, Global Technical Evangelist, SolarWinds

That’s easy: What was your greatest investment in 2023? 2024 is the time to get the most out of it.

You invested the value of a nice Lamborghini in a new OpenShift environment, or you updated a dozen AlwaysOn clusters; whatever it is, make sure your staff understands how to use it properly and how it brings the most value to the business. 

It is unfortunate when solutions get deployed, but IT teams use only a fraction of the available features. That could make it a failed investment for the business, but it’s also less than optimal for us as software vendors. It saddens us! Even from my point of view as a SolarWinds spokesperson, I think I speak for the whole industry when I say: Talk to us. Talk to us if you feel something is missing or a process is too complicated. We’re there for you now and in 2024.

Sertan Selcuk, Vice President, METAP and CIS, OPSWAT

Sertan Selcuk, VP for METAP and CIS, OPSWAT

It will be critical to emphasize integration and cohesion within the technological ecosystem. It is critical to ensure that various technology tools work harmoniously, breaking down data silos and maximizing operational efficiency. This orchestration is crucial for enhancing the organizations’ digitization efforts and unlocking the full potential of the technology stack. 

Additionally, I recommend that technology leaders stay informed and agile. They should keep up with the latest technological advancements and be open to adopting innovative solutions that streamline operations and enhance overall performance, particularly in the META region’s technology context. Adaptability will be a significant asset in a swiftly evolving technological landscape, contributing to the business’s growth and success in 2024.

Sharon Mandell – Chief Information Officer, Juniper Networks

Sharon Mandell – Chief Information Officer, Juniper Networks 

A simplistic approach would concentrate on capacity management and project prioritization to ensure that resources are fully utilized. However, in the modern operating environment, the concept of getting the most out of a resource has evolved due to the integration of automation tools and AI, necessitating a more nuanced approach. 

Maximizing output or labor hours is no longer the exclusive metric to describe a resource being used to its full potential. Instead, it’s also a matter of leveraging people’s unique strengths and capabilities and supplementing them with systems that do the things that are either mundane or things that we as humans struggle to cope with. Consider quickly synthesizing huge volumes of seemingly unrelated data in very constrained periods, for example. It is ultimately essential for leaders in IT to go further into truly understanding their resources. They need to ensure that all of their human and technical capital is engaged and that they are working on projects that make the greatest use of their unique skills and capabilities.

Sid Bhatia, Area Vice President and General Manager – META, Dataiku

Sid Bhatia, Regional VP and General Manager - META, Dataiku

Following my point about the importance of generative AI, the “how” (pathways) is a critical consideration when implementing and scaling the technology in the enterprise.

Organizations can go down one of four paths —

  • Services, wherein the organization can outsource the development and deployment of a Gen-AI suite to a third party;
  • Point solutions, where an enterprise can buy a Gen-AI application off-the-shelf;
  • DIY, where the name suggests, the organization can develop the internal AI and software capabilities to build solutions that make sense and align with the wider AI strategy; or finally
  • Platform, market offerings that allow the business to build machine learning and AI capabilities, including Gen AI, into their day-to-day operations. 

The platform approach is the best of all worlds — reduced entry barriers, lower costs, faster time to value, easier maintenance, more audit options, better governance, and more. However, to fulfill its potential, an AI platform requires an organization-wide shift in mindset. Business leaders must be prepared to break down silos and move towards an Everyday AI culture where teams collaborate routinely. Value can be added repeatedly through brainstorming and rapid prototyping. A middle ground between developmental autonomy and governance must be found so employees feel empowered to add new value. 

Sriram Ganeshan, Consulting Technical Manager, Oracle

Sriram Ganeshan, Consulting Technical Manager, Oracle

In the dynamic landscape of technology, as a tech leader, you would want your tech stack to grow organically. However, in most cases, due to changes in priorities, unforeseen requirements, shadow IT, and other factors, lots of tools often get accumulated, adding further complexities as new components are added. 

Assess and remove obsolete elements regularly to prevent your tech stack from becoming unwieldy and cumbersome. Prioritize modernizing your tech stack rather than adding new layers as patches. Leverage technologies like low code to streamline processes, reduce tech debt, and foster agility. 

This should be a top priority for technology leaders. A handy tech stack, achieved through strategic evaluation and modernization, is the key to propelling your organization forward in the digital era.

Vibhu Kapoor, Regional Vice President – IMEA, Epicor

Vibhu Kapoor, Regional Vice President - IMEA, Epicor

IT teams must evolve their tech stacks as new challenges and opportunities emerge. This will mean identifying and implementing new technologies, which must be seamlessly integrated into their existing tech ecosystem. While mounting pressure from business stakeholders may tempt IT leaders to jump in with both feet on their large-scale digital transformation projects, this is a recipe for disappointment.

Be “data-informed”. Ask questions. Find out what is available and what use it may have. It is all good to have millions of records on hand, but if they do not help accomplish a specific business goal, then what is the point? Be “data-driven”. Determine ways of using what you have to generate useful insights and make better decisions.

But to reap the greatest benefits, be “data-led”. Establish a constant feedback loop that enables real-time, even automated, decisions through intelligence embedded in processes and workflows. This is where every company should aim to be as it will ensure that ongoing IT investments are guided and offer the most impact to the all-important bottom line.

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