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Tech stack stuff

K-mart is an incredible place to shop – or better, try Walmart in the United States.

Tuesday, September 12th 2023, 6:48AM

by Russell Hutchinson

It is the epitome of a retailer aiming to meet as many of its customers’ needs as possible. Would you shop there for an anniversary gift for your partner? What about a rare book? Do you buy all your computers there? There are myriad reasons why you use many more different shops today than you did in the past. While department stores and discounters may expand their ranges, it seems that the shopping environment expands around them – and there are more and more reasons to seek our specialists whether online or offline.

This is how it appears in the tech stack. My Microsoft Windows operating system is more capable than ever before. It integrates many, many functions that used to be independent services or even devices in the past. Yet at the same time, I use more independent services and software than ever before too. In our business, in the last year, we have added numerous functions and subscriptions as we have expanded the services we plug into. One is a credit card authenticator, two AI services, and these are in addition to existing different providers of charting tools, data visualization tools, notes, meetings, chat functions, specialist search tools, HR systems, and many, many more. It feels like it might be a nice idea to get them all from one place, it would please the ‘winning’ company, but the run of play has been towards an ecosystem of apps from specialists for specialist functions. Microsoft, Google, and others will win in the areas where less differentiation and more international standardisation is available.

A good way to think about how to apply this to your own purchasing process is to consider how specialised the task is that you are undertaking. For recording names, addresses, follow ups, and attaching correspondence, these are tasks that are understood almost globally. For writing a statement of advice, on the other hand, we want to access that data, but prepare a document which has requirements specific to a sector (life insurance, say) and a jurisdiction (New Zealand) – this suggests an approach which is far more specialised.

Tags: Russell Hutchinson

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