DenSwap isn’t even 3 years old yet, but Driftmier and his partner Craig Baute have decades of combined coworking experience. All this means they have...
Grow your coworking business in 2024: audit your tech stack
We asked coworking space operators who use Coworks about their plans for 2024 — specifically what they would do in Q1 to set their space up for growth in the new year. You can see their first priority, attracting new members, here.
Their second priority was to take a hard look at all their digital tools, or what we call a tech stack audit.
As a coworking space owner or manager, the collection of software, apps and tools you use to run your business operations is called your "technology stack" or "tech stack". Performing periodic tech stack audits helps you evaluate all the technology you are paying for, so you can optimize costs and make sure each tool is really delivering value.
This article explains what a tech stack is, and provides a simple step-by-step process any coworking space can use to audit their tech tools and subscriptions.
What is a Tech Stack?
Your tech stack refers to the mix of software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools, apps, and platforms your coworking space uses on a regular basis. This includes things like:
- Email marketing software to communicate with members
- Social media management platforms to manage your brand presence
- Space management systems to handle bookings, billing and access control
- Virtual phone systems for call routing and voicemail
- Accounting software to handle invoicing and payments
- Website builders, analytics, and SEO tools for your online presence
All of the technology that powers your coworking operations makes up your tech stack. And just like any stack, over time it can become disorganized and unbalanced. That's where a tech audit comes in!
Why should you audit your tech stack?
There are a few key reasons why performing regular tech stack audits is so valuable for coworking spaces, and why the coworking owners and operators who answered our survey said this was the second highest priority in 2024.
- Optimize costs - Audit to identify and eliminate unused or duplicate subscriptions to reduce software spending.
- Assess value - Confirm that each tech tool is supporting key business goals or metrics like member satisfaction. Stop paying for low value software.
- Rightsize contracts - Make sure you aren't overpaying for unused licenses or features. Adjust contracts to fit your actual usage.
- Improve workflows - Identify gaps or areas for better integrations between tools to reduce manual work.
- Cleanup clutter - Cancel, consolidate or archive old platforms that are no longer needed.
- Strategically upgrade - Determine which tools merit expanded investment to support growth.
Without periodic check-ins, it's easy for tech stacks to become bloated and imbalanced. Audits keep you on track.
Quick Guide: Choosing the best coworking management software for your community
Over the years, we’ve heard some of the key questions that business owners have for our software and have identified the most useful traits that business owners are looking for.
How to audit your coworking space's tech stack
Here is a step-by-step process any coworking space can follow to perform a thorough tech stack audit:
- Take inventory of current tech
Start by creating a spreadsheet with a list of every software, app, and tool your coworking space uses. If you use accounting software, this report should be easy.
For each technology, capture key details like:
- Name of the software or platform
- The vendor or company that provides it
- What the tool is used for
- Who on your team uses it
- The monthly, annual or one-time cost
- Contract length and renewal date
Accounting for every tech tool you pay for provides clarity on what you are currently invested in.
- Rank tools by value
Next, go through your list and rank each technology on a scale of 1-5 based on how much value it currently provides your coworking business.
1 = No value. We could easily cancel this tool.
5 = Provides huge value and ROI based on business impact.
To determine value, ask critical questions like:
- Does this tool directly improve member experience, satisfaction, or retention?
- Does it reduce staff hours spent on manual processes or busywork?
- Does it help us attract more members or drive revenue?
- Would we lose key insights or capabilities if we stopped using this tool?
Ranking value separates the "must have" tools from the "nice to have" ones.
- Analyze cost vs. value
Now compare each tool's value ranking to its cost.
For low value software, explore eliminating or reducing licenses. For medium value tools, look to optimize usage and discounts. For high value tools, focus on maximizing ROI with training, integration and strategic upgrades.
The goal is to align spending to value: minimize low-value costs, maximize high-value impact.
- Rightsize your contracts
Audit the contractual terms for each SaaS tool as well.
- Do you have unused licenses you are overpaying for?
- Can you negotiate shorter contracts or smaller user tiers?
- Are there unused product features or storage you can downgrade or remove?
Carefully rightsizing contracts generates instant savings.
- Review your space management software
Space management systems like Coworks deserve unique focus. Evaluate how your platform impacts:
- Lead capture and management
- Staff hours spent on billing, admin, and communications
- Your ability to analyze space utilization and revenue
- Flexibility to update pricing plans, space allocations, etc
Your core space management software has an outsized impact on operations and member experience. Prioritize capabilities that provide end-to-end automation.
- Pro move: implement utilization dashboards
Consider using data visualization tools to create dashboards that track:
- Active users per platform
- Weekly or monthly usage trends
- Tech spending vs. allocated budget
- Major redundancies across tools
Dashboards provide at-a-glance visibility to inform audit decisions and keep your stack optimized.
- Find areas to consolidate
Identify opportunities to eliminate overlapping tools that provide similar functionality. This simplifies your stack and operations.
- Improve Integrations Between Tools
Smooth out integrations between platforms with APIs and automations. This reduces manual work and data entry.
- Cancel and cleanup legacy tools
Cancel, archive, or migrate data away from outdated platforms you no longer need. Avoid paying for tech clutter.
- Continuously optimize your stack
Treat tech stack audits as an ongoing practice — not a one-time project. Revisit your technology usage and spending every 6 months to keep your business needs aligned with your tools.
An optimized tech stack balances cost efficiency with enabling your team to perform at their best every day. Use regular audits to strike this compromise.