An efficient technology stack — or “tech stack” — is crucial for the smooth operation of any sport organization. A tech stack is a general term for the various applications and software an organization uses for both internal and consumer-facing operations. The term has become increasingly important due to the recent proliferation of software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies aiming to streamline every aspect of a business.
Businesses like sport organizations need the tools and capabilities of an effective tech stack to grow, attracting new athletes, staff, coaches, and other participants with a seamless process from end to end. Here we’ll explain the features, functions, and benefits of building a good tech stack. In the end, we included some tips to get you started on creating (or enhancing) the tech stack for your organization.
Features of an Effective Tech Stack
Sport organizations should aim to integrate their tech stack ecosystems as much as possible. Each application should be flexible enough to complement the others, allowing different teams within your organization and your partners to run sport programming with maximum efficiency. Effective tech stacks also utilize API-first (application programming interface) solutions that prioritize your users, who prefer easy-to-use interfaces across all their devices. Where possible and cost-efficient, separate systems can be integrated with APIs, which can help with more streamlined user experiences and or more automated and robust admin processes. In many scenarios, particularly with the larger systems and platforms, it is easier than it sounds to integrate 3rd party systems and it can often be done in a simple and lightweight manner without the need for development expertise.
Why Sport Organizations Should Build a Tech Stack
Like many organizations, sport clubs need to keep track of many moving parts. With an effective tech stack, they can coordinate member registrations, merchandise stores, event signups, and much more. Here are just some of the functions that effective tech stacks can perform for your sport organization:
- Athlete registration and management
- Volunteer registration
- Community building
- Marketing, PR, and communications
- Coach licensing
- Continuing education
- Background checks
- Revenue generation from merchandise sales
- Event management
- Competition and ranking
- Safe sport processes
- Newsletter signups
- Donation and fundraising programs
Benefits of a Good Tech Stack
A tech stack with complementary tools and applications creates a ripple effect of benefits across your organization.
Of course, sometimes due to legacy systems, messy data, or other complexities, making an integration is not viable. Nothing is perfect, but there are often opportunities and a viable business case to invest energy into reducing the friction between freestanding technologies. However, when possible, a frictionless technological ecosystem frees up valuable time for passionate employees to grow in the sport. The less paperwork sport administrators have to do, the more they can contribute to the community that your sport is building. Using the power of an integrated tech stack allows for automated processes around membership verification, certification for coaches, background checks, up-to-date directories and more. So sport administrators can focus on greater goals rather than menial tasks.
Better Forecasting and Analytics
A good tech stack improves overall problem-solving, especially by providing accurate, real-time metrics in great detail. Leaders can quickly identify areas of improvement and develop targeted solutions for complex problems.
AI technology can help analyze large quantities of data and provide more accurate business forecasting. Many platforms come with a built-in feedback loop that continually feeds more data into the system. This constant flow of information allows you to plan ahead effectively and make more informed decisions.
Clear and effective communication between your organization, athletes, parents, and fans is paramount. A good tech stack integrates user-friendly communication platforms. Especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, sport organizations need to use reliable technology to keep audiences engaged remotely. In our communications survey, our sport organization clients reported the most common applications used were, in order: Mailchimp (62.5%) Constant Contact, (20.8%), and the remaining were using Campaign Monitor, Active Campaign, and Gmail.
The best tech stacks can quickly and accurately feed information from one platform to another. This level of integration will provide users with an enhanced customer experience that they will remember. With smooth transactions for member registration, waiver collection, certifications, and more, you reduce the likelihood of dropouts mid-signup. Registration technology that supports integrated registrations and memberships — like Interpodia — streamlines the entire user experience.
Tips for Building Your Tech Stack
Now that you know the importance of building (and continually improving) your tech stack, here are some tips to help you get started.
Map Out User Experiences
From annual registration to waiver collection, make sure to standardize user experiences for athletes, parents, coaches, and event attendees. Having an organized process for each type of user will help your organization attract new users and retain returning ones.
Create a Data Strategy
While mapping out user experiences and internal processes, make sure to map out the types of data you collect. Use this data to generate a data strategy, which should provide guidance on how to obtain, organize, analyze, and deliver data that support your overall business. The strategy should ensure that data flows smoothly across all necessary internal platforms.
Designate Roles and Responsibilities
Once you’ve mapped out user experiences, created a viable data strategy, and set up the applications of your tech stack, you need employees to maintain them. Train the appropriate workers on your processes and systems, and delegate responsibilities to keep your operations functioning smoothly.
Optimize Existing Tools and Processes
If you currently have tools and applications in place that work, see what you can do to make the most of them. Oftentimes there is low-hanging fruit, features that you are paying for but not using. Optimizing these technologies to work better for your organization is usually the easiest thing you can do to ensure your entire tech stack is efficient.
We often see organizations trying to implement systems for rare-case, very specific scenarios. There will always be edge cases, but it’s important to think on a macro-level when building your tech stack, focusing on what is best for the majority of your end users.
For the best ROI, make sure to ask yourself these questions when building your processes and workflows…
What is the frequency of this scenario?
What percentage of end-users are affected by this?
Our biggest tip for sport organizations starting this process is to keep an open mind about adapting and making changes to the status quo. Of course, change isn’t easy, but it is often easier to change your process a bit to make the best use of existing and proven technology. Rather than spend lots of time and resources trying to exactly match a new technology to your legacy processes.
We have found that the best implementations are usually when the new technology and old processes meet each other somewhere in the middle. Additionally, don’t be afraid to monitor, measure, and evolve periodically. Things change and it is healthy to have an annual debrief and retrospective look at the technology and processes and what is working well and what might be worthy of revisiting or changing.
Interpodia’s Place In Your Tech Stack
Every sport organization is unique, so there is no single way to build a good tech stack. However, the most important thing in an effective tech stack is that it works well for everyone involved — employees, members, partners, visitors, and anyone else that interacts with your platform. A good tech stack can be one of the most powerful tools at your sport organization’s disposal.
As a leading sport organization software company, Interpodia is experienced in dealing with all matters of tech stacks of individual sport organizations. This is why we have focused on our technology to be a hub for our clients, to which they can partner with vertical specialists and platforms as needed. We are committed to streamlining the registration, certification, waiver, payment, and other processes so that your users have the best possible experience with your sport. We believe in the power of automation to improve productivity and allow athletes and coaches to focus on their passion for the sport.