Most entrepreneurs these days know they need to invest in tech to power their startups, but it can be difficult to know what will make the most positive impact. The sheer volume of tech tools on the market can lead to an entrepreneur investing precious budget dollars in technology they don’t really need, or worse, missing out on tools that could have a truly positive impact on productivity.
And making the right tech-related investments is about more than just specific hardware and software purchases. If startups don’t develop smart, comprehensive tech systems and bring on the personnel to oversee them, the tech tools they’ve invested in won’t have the full impact they’re looking for. Here, 15 members of Forbes Technology Council discuss the tech investments that can have an immediate, positive effect on a startup’s operations.
1. Cloud Computing
I would recommend a startup invest in cloud computing right away, because doing so will improve business agility and flexibility. Making use of innovative technology is important. With cloud computing, your staff can work from any location where there’s access to the internet, both in the field or at home. You could even reduce costs while giving employees a more flexible work environment. – Szilvia Horvath, ELO Digital Office Corporation
2. Remote Management Tools
With the challenges facing manufacturing industries, from the need for a more sustainable future to disruptions in the supply chain, it is important to look at product strategies and realign with the new world. Technologies that can organize a company’s teams remotely, focusing and driving their product portfolio in line with changes in customer and market needs, should be a high priority. – Maziar Adl, Gocious LLC
3. Up-To-Date Computers And Leading Software Packages
This seems so obvious, but many startups limp along with older computers and out-of-date tools. Bite the bullet and get everyone at least Windows 10 and an Office 365 subscription, which includes MS Teams (for virtual meetings), management lists and a host of other useful features. – Charles Simon, FutureAI
4. Web-Development Tech
It’s difficult to pinpoint a single piece of technology that will make a big impact for any company without knowing the market, personas, or sales and marketing strategy. That being said, my mantra for any business is that you should “write the ad before you start the business,” so I would suggest investing in a technology that can help you develop a website and landing pages and tell your story to the world. – Erik Kostelnik, Postal.io, Inc.
5. Knowledge Mining
Plan to leverage analytics technologies such as knowledge mining and graphing based on cognitive services such as natural language processing, text analytics, image recognition and so on. Such services are available from different cloud vendors. Leverage these tools to understand patterns in customer and employee behavior and sentiment, as well as product adoption and usage. – Vineet Arora, WinWire Technologies
6. Data Collection And Analysis Systems
Startups must test new business models and/or technology efficacy. Data collection, analysis and measurement systems are critical for building evidence and demonstrating that your business or technology provides value and can scale. Investors are more demanding of this evidence than ever before, so define your assumptions up front, identify how you will test them and then invest in the data technology. – Steven Gustafson, Noonum, Inc.
7. Data Security
Technology is simply an accelerator and enabler. The payload of any digital business is its data. I would invest in keeping that data secure at the appropriate level—whether that’s by removing, obfuscating, tokenizing, anonymizing and/or encrypting it—and in looking after its value. Technology can help you make your data understood across your business through such methods as dictionaries and quality monitoring, to name just two. – Simone Steel, Nationwide Building Society
8. A CISO
The best thing for a startup to invest in is a chief information security officer, not just tech alone. It is very rare to see a startup invest in developing a security-focused culture at the outset. There’s always this odd assumption by leaders that they can come back to it later. With more and more customers becoming wary of adopting new solutions due to security concerns, alleviating those concerns up front is essential. – Endre Walls, Customers Bancorp
9. A Smart Communication Platform
Adopt a smart communication platform. Investing in tech-agnostic chat platforms is crucial. They allow everyone on the team to communicate and collaborate seamlessly, at all times. The idea behind this is clear: enabling better teamwork through having fewer emails going back and forth between team members and keeping all communication within all departments within one platform. – Sergiu Matei, Index Soft Limited
10. Workflow Automation
Budget-constrained startups have to be very discerning about what to invest in. Investing in workflow automation processes is a good option. Seek to automate as much as possible so you can focus on your core offering as opposed to operational tasks. Anything that automates repetitive and redundant work and keeps you focused on your core mission will have a positive impact on your business. – Alejandro Laplana, Shokworks
11. Collaboration Software
Startups should invest in collaboration software with project or backlog management, instant messaging, whiteboarding and more. Communication is crucial for businesses of all sizes, especially in today’s hybrid environment. Today’s digital business cannot keep pace with the competition without an effective collaboration ecosystem. This allows them to keep all the balls in the air while providing transparency across the team as it grows. – Irvin Bishop, Black & Veatch
12. A CRM
An agile customer relationship management platform with associated targets is critical for all stages of a startup. It’s needed to manage customer segmentation, customer success lifecycle development and customer feedback, among other things. All of these should influence the direction of the products and services being offered by the startup. – Bhavna Sethi, Wave BL
13. A Project Management Platform
In my experience, investing in the best possible tools at the very beginning can be a key step in avoiding future disasters. The one I would recommend is a state-of-the-art project manager, which will allow you to preview each employee’s workload, foresee and tackle issues on the spot, and in general, improve productivity and prevent work burnout. A project management platform is a must for any technological company. – Rui Stoffel Fernandes, BusUp
14. Transcription Software
Documenting processes and making important information accessible to all are critical to a startup’s ability to scale and, ultimately, survive. AI-powered meeting transcription software is affordable (to a limited extent, it’s available for free), and it gives you an easy way to enable asynchronous work and knowledge-sharing. Best of all, you don’t have to take notes during calls. – Gergo Vari, Lensa, Inc.
15. Open-Source Software
With true open-source software, you get people from different companies all over the world coming together to create awesome software. This culture of diversity and meritocracy leads to two things. First, you get software that is very hardened. And second, you get a lot of early adopters who take these technologies and use them for mission-critical applications. – Chet Kapoor, DataStax