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Tool tips for tech start-ups

Written by Sarah McVittie on Thursday, 02 July 2015. Posted in Start-up Diaries

Now that firms have more data to delve into than ever before, making sure they have the right kit to sift through it all is essential. Fortunately, Dressipi’s Sarah McVittie is here to run through her top picks

Tool tips for tech start-ups

Once upon a time, all you needed to start a business was a desk and a phone. However, it's safe to say things have moved on quite a lot since then. Developments like computers, email and the internet have opened up huge possibilities but new technology has also brought a variety of challenges. Like many other businesses out there, we have to cope with the onslaught of hundreds of emails a day. Then there’s all that lovely data upon which we’ve built our services; it’s a goldmine of insights but only if you have the time and tools to analyse it.

As a business with big ambitions and a small team, it’s vital for us to save time to focus on the stuff that matters. That means acquiring and using the right tools. So to save the time – and money – of other start-up owners out there, we’ve compiled a handy list of the cool tools we couldn’t live without at Dressipi HQ.

 

Slack

We love Slack. It’s a tool that replaces those short email questions that go back and forth across a company and have a habit of clogging up your inbox. We find it’s a lot more flexible than email as it lets you divide your communications into channels and helps individual team members work in the best way for them.

Slack also lets you set reminders for the whole team; a function that has been invaluable to us. We have a ‘scrum’ channel that goes off at 10am and reminds the team to write down all the actions they want to achieve that day. It’s a great way to focus the mind and prioritise.

 

Google Docs

We’ve all been in the situation where we’re faced with a document that’s been separately annotated by three different people and another four have pitched in with changes on email. Amalgamating feedback on a document is a huge time sink if you’re a small business. Creating a shared document on Google Docs is a brilliant way to get around this. And better yet: it’s free.

 

Tableau

Businesses driven by data need tools that let them analyse it properly. Tableau is awesome at this and it has totally changed our lives. It’s a data analysis and visualisation tool that we use to analyse the data we build from our retail partnerships, enabling us to efficiently report back the success of what we’re doing for clients.

Before we started using Tableau, we relied on Excel, which took forever to update and frequently crashed under the weight of the data we were trying to analyse. Moving from Excel to Tableau was also relatively easy – it’s significantly more user-friendly than Excel so you can do much more with it as a novice.

 

All of these tools are very different in terms of how they’re applied but they do share one principle. Whereas in the past we might have employed tools in order to access the information we needed to function, things like Slack and Tableau are all about managing access to an abundance of information. And it’s that quality that is the hallmark of a useful tool. Does it help you filter through a morass of data or communications to find the bits that matter? If so, you're onto a winner. 

About the Author

Sarah McVittie

Sarah McVittie

McVittie is one half of the talented team behind Dressipi, the fashion tech startup that's stirring up the world of retail. McVittie and co-founder Donna Kelly evenly balance each other out, with product- and detail-focused Kelly packing the corporate capability and McVittie bringing the start-up skills with her sales and shareholding expertise.

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