We are just about three months into life as a new business. Before we launched, we spent a lot of time thinking about our tech stack needs. We knew we wanted to be able to run our location agnostic model without missing any of the things a large IT department provides; we wanted tech that what would integrate seamlessly and make our working lives that little bit sweeter so we could get on with focusing on our client needs and delivering great work. In short, we wanted the Holy Grail – simple, to use and understand, but not simpler tech.
This is our tech stack; we’re sharing because we know how easy it is to get lost navigating the many tools and solutions out there and because we’d have loved to have found an article like this when we were setting up, so we’re paying it forward.
The hardware: Apple
We are an agency powered by Apple hardware. We use Macbook Pros and mostly iPhones. I am sure you are all aware of the pros and cons of Apple hardware (and we’re following the current security issues with interest) but this is working nicely for us and, being honest, we just really prefer the Apple design aesthetic and find the Apple OS more intuitive.
Business software and email: Microsoft
While Apple powers our hardware, Microsoft powers our software and email. We use Microsoft for email, office applications, file storage and collaborating on documents. We looked long and hard at alternatives, but when it came down to it, we felt that the Office 365 subscription was excellent value with all the different features and we all know and like Microsoft office applications.
As a location agnostic team, the way we stay in touch is critically important to us. We don’t love emails, and so we don’t use them, apart from for client interactions. Instead, we are huge fans of Slack. It’s intuitive, integrates well with other applications, fast and keeps us organised with our different threads. It’s so good that we are always recommending it and some of our clients are now using it with us too.
Project management: Trello
While we can do a lot with Slack, if we have specific project management needs we use Trello. Nice and simple. Trello has an excellent user interface and good integration with Slack.
Financial management: Xero, Receiptbank and TransferWise
Xero is brilliant! It allows a seamless link up with our accountant and bank accounts. Receiptbank helps us capture all of our receipts electronically. And TransferWise helps take the pain of fees and hassle from our overseas transactions (we’re pan European).
Video calls: Zoom
While we could have used Skype with our Office365 subscription, we have instead gone with Zoom and so far, we’re delighted that we did. It’s so good you can sometimes forget you are working with people in different locations.
The Zoom platform is easy to use, the voice and video quality feel superior, and it has some great features, such as the ability to record video calls in the cloud, or on your device; to start instant meetings; customise dial-in numbers to add as many international dial-ins as you like.
You can also mute your colleagues if they talk too much.
Regular calls: CircleLoop
For our phone service, we considered using only mobile phones but wanted a fixed line service as well. We need to add and remove users easily. We also wanted to set up hunt groups for account teams and so that we can all answer the switchboard number.
What we didn’t want was all the hassle that comes with a traditional phone system. I also didn’t want a big ugly phone sat on my desk that rarely gets used. To meet these needs we selected exciting new British provider called CircleLoop.
CircleLoop delivers everything we needed plus some other cool features like a personal conference bridge for every user as standard, and a voice to text service for any voicemails users receive. Like Zoom, you can also record your conversations. It comes as a desktop and phone app, and you can set up fixed, mobile and national numbers for your business and every team member, so they don’t need to use their personal mobile number.
Sales and marketing: Pipedrive, Leadiro and Mailchimp
We use Pipedrive for contact management and lead tracking. It’s simple and effective and makes us happy when we’re using it, rather than pained which was my experience of using competitors like Salesforce.
To keep our contacts fresh and relevant we found a powerful new cloud contact database company – Leadiro. It’s another British company and is again easy to use to build databases for specific roles and industries that you can then use in email marketing campaigns.
For email marketing, we use mail chimp. As with everything we’ve chosen the Mailchimp platform is easy to use and easy to scale-up as our list of subscribers grows.
The combination of Leadiro, Pipedrive and Mailchimp means that in two months since launching, we have been able to develop a targeted subscriber list for our occasional email campaigns of over 12,000 contacts. I say occasionally because we have this philosophy of “contribute don’t pollute” and the last thing we want to do is pepper people with junk mail.
Tools: Hootsuite, Creative Cloud, Moz, TrendKite and Pulsar
We use Hootsuite for managing social campaigns, Adobe Creative Cloud for design, Moz for SEO, Trendkite for media analysis and Pulsar for social analysis. Other than our Apple hardware, the analysis tools were the most significant investments for us as a start-up, but we felt they were essential for us to deliver the work we wanted to do.
So, there you have it: Tyto’s tech stack! And since this is based on our experience, I’d recommend these tools to any new agency.
Tech Stack Requirement
Tech Stack Solution
|Hardware||Apple MacBook Pro|
|Business software and email||Microsoft Office 365|
|Finances||Xero, Receiptbank, Transferwise|
|Marketing & Sales||Pipedrive, Leadiro, Mailchimp|
|Design||Adobe Creative Cloud|
|Insights||Moz, Trendkite and Pulsar|