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What is an App Stack?

An application stack or “app stack” is a collection of related software programs or cloud-based tools and services that is visualized as a stack to help employees better understand their tools and assist managers in making critical decisions about app utilization, comparative costs, and more. App stacks are similar in concept to tech stacks and software stacks, but those terms are mostly applied to back-end programming and web development toolsets, whereas app stacks are comprised almost exclusively of end-user applications.

The term app stack has grown in popularity with the emergence of today’s new generation of powerful, cloud-based digital business solutions. Subscription-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications are now available for nearly every commercial function, from marketing and sales to finance and customer support.

As more apps are added, however, tracking and optimizing the components of each stack has grown increasingly complex. So to more fully integrate stacks into their operations (and use them as active management tools) many companies are turning to stack management software such as Lenovo AirStack.

Benefits of App Stack Management

App, tech, and software stacks are not new. But, IT leaders now realize that what started as a mere visual exercise — listing and sorting function-specific toolsets into related stacks — can (and should) be much more.

Simply adding and removing apps from your stacks may work at the department or team level. Yet with proper coordination and management, stacks can help you answer additional, broader questions like:

  • What tools are other groups in the company using for similar work?
  • Do they have spare application or software licenses that your team can use?
  • Do they have better solutions, or have they learned new ways to use the same apps?
  • Can I share data with other teams to get more from my app investments?
  • Will an organized, easily visualized stack make it easier to onboard and train new staff?

It’s easy to see how a poorly managed stack can quickly swing out of control, as new apps and services are added to meet short-term needs without first evaluating other options already in use elsewhere. In contrast, a well-managed stack can identify when multiple, separate tools are being used to achieve similar business needs, thus helping managers eliminate costly duplication and overlap.

Active stack management (whether on your own or with a product such as Lenovo Airstack) helps you turn your stacks into living, breathing corporate assets. Richly detailed tool and capability visualizations can be optimized and shared across teams. And stacks that once grew organically over time are being proactively created and managed as strategic company-wide resources.