Five misconceptions about a large tech stack that are draining your profits

Updated on:
January 26, 2023
Created on:
January 4, 2023
Catalina Butnaru
By:
Catalina Butnaru

What is the real cost of a large tech stack? Hint: insight.

The modern job requires a modern tech stack. However, each tool comes with a significant cost to the business. The most obvious is the upfront investment – the average company spends $10,000 per month on tools like Slack, Zoom, and Asana.

Then, there’s maintenance and optimization. You want your CRM to let sales reps know about new leads and your BI dashboard to update growth predictions as a result. So, you hire a Systems and Data Operations Manager.

Counter to common belief, the true cost of a large tech stack is not maintenance; it’s a lack of insight into time waste.

Instead of entirely focusing on delivering business outcomes, your team is busy doing admin work 😮‍💨.

Why? It's because half of your workforce now relies on technology to do their job. Every day, employees use at least 5 tools consistently: Microsoft Office 365, Google Apps, Dropbox, and communications tools like Slack, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams. The impact of a large tech stack on productivity is proportionate to your team size.

Let’s do a reality check, debunk some misconceptions, and understand the true cost of a large tech stack🕵️.

Misconception 1 

Tech makes you work faster

Reality: Distractions and unnecessary meetings slow you down

Cost: $1M annually

Notifications, emails, and meetings flood your workday. Information flows faster, and everything seems urgent. Each distraction drains your actual productivity. It takes 18 minutes to re-focus after switching tasks, and – once you get in the zone – you’ve got to jump on an unnecessary meeting. You update your to-dos and documents with actions and suddenly your work day is ending.

Context-switching and multitasking, combined with unnecessary time spent on managing meetings or documents kill productivity. Is there a cost associated with this problem?

Yes. According to CBS, companies with 5000 employees are wasting up to $1,000,000 on unproductive meetings alone. 

Misconception 2

A large tech stack makes you efficient

Reality: Lack of system interoperability creates unnecessary admin

Cost: 58% of the annual workday is wasted on meaningless admin

If you’ve recently started using a new app, you most likely asked yourself if it works with your calendar, email, or messaging apps. If not, you moved on to better options, right? 

In a business, it’s not as easy. Any new business tool must connect to your critical systems before purchasing. Why? Because a system that doesn’t stay in sync with your tech stack is a system that creates inefficiencies and double admin work.

Asana estimated that knowledge workers waste 58% of yearly working days on “meaningless” admin.

When you contrast this stat with the pressure on employees to get more done, you realize that the problem cannot be solved with motivational speeches alone. It must be addressed at its core – ensuring your systems are connected to reduce overhead on your teams.

Misconception 3

Tech improves business outcomes

Reality: Siloed metrics are bad for business

Sales want to increase velocity, and Acquisition – to decrease CAC. Team Brand wants to improve top-of-mind awareness, whereas Support wants to reduce backlog. Each team is chasing job-specific KPIs, but business growth is lagging. The business silos problem is as old as the internet, if not older, and it’s amplified by technology. Function-specific metrics are good, but unhelpful in business economics and labour forecasts.

Time is a valuable asset, as it is typically linked to wages and revenue. To ensure that the company is making the most of this investment, it is important to keep track of how company time is utilized, instead of chasing disparate metrics. Doing so will help you make better business forecasts – such as labour costs, labour hours, and capacity.

If you want to forecast labour hours and costs to run a more effective business, you need a solid practice of time tracking.

Misconception 4

Optimizing your time also increases productivity

Reality: Lack of deep work and downtime leads to burn out

Cost: $3000-$10000 per employee

Productivity isn’t about a record amount of work completed in a day. It’s the management of time, energy, and skill to a degree that puts you in the best position to do high quality work at a rhythm you can sustain. 

Due to inadequate definitions of productivity, most of which fall into the “getting stuff done” philosophy, half of the tech workforce is at risk of burnout. 33% of the tech workers with high burnout risk feel inefficient, exhausted, and lost when it comes to managing their productivity.

The impact? According to Spring Health, the cost of burnouts is astronomical: up to $190 Billion. Let that sink in for a minute.

Misconception 5

A large tech stack is good for employee productivity

Reality: The average worker is productive for three hours a day

Cost: 65% of operations cost goes towards non-productive or admin work

No doubt, some technologies help us be more efficient. However, productivity is contingent upon time constraints. You can only work 8-10 hours a day. As optimistic as one can be when trying a brand new tool, in addition to the stated benefits, you also create more complexity for the business.

Research shows that most people are only productive for 3 hours a day. Where do our remaining five hours go?

The more tools you work with, the busier you will be, without feeling any more productive. A large tech stack makes it harder for you to control the impact of increased work complexity on productivity.

Parting Thoughts

We understand the power of a fully integrated ecosystem: it’s not just cost reduction; it’s the power of gaining  insight into your workday, so you can achieve better business outcomes.

With Timely, all of your active work is captured in a timeline, giving you complete visibility into pockets of deep work and productivity or time drains like meetings and admin.

Timely integrates with all your primary work tools: Microsoft Teams, Zoom, calendar apps, Asana, and email… and that’s before we get onto the things tracked by the Memory app. Most integrations in Timely’s ecosystem enrich your timeline with the accurate record of your work: that one to-do you’ve spent 10 minutes on or that email you’ve written for 5 mins this morning. 

Timely integrations solve the problem of time waste with a large tech stack. You know exactly what you worked on, for how long, and using which tool. And, as a business, you gain the missing time insights you needed to make better time and labour forecasts.