Most indispensible tech tools for recessions

Software subscriptions that once felt necessary might seem like nice-to-haves now. But how do you determine which apps to keep and which you can press pause on? To help businesses determine the value of different tech solutions, we at Terkel asked CEOs and business leaders: What are the technologies and software that are indispensable for your business, even during a recession?

Here are their answers.

1. Competency-based assessment technology

“Using competency-based, job-specific assessment technology is an absolute must for anyone looking to uplevel their hiring. Getting beyond the interview and into the heart and soul of your candidates can give you a truer gauge of can they do the job and thrive as a member of your team.

With a recession comes an increased need to hire and to protect every dollar by lessening the risk of turnover. Assessment technology (like Reveal) has shown time and time again how you can get in front of the eight-ball and hire qualified and dynamic candidates.”

Linda Scorzo, CEO of Hiring Indicators

2. Video conferencing software

“Video conferencing software, such as Zoom, Streamyard, or Airmeet, has been a game-changer in business reach. This type of software has made virtual events, courses, live streams, and workshops easier as well as cost-effective for businesses. This in turn makes it easier for customers to purchase and access the products. It also helps with brand visibility as well.”

Aikyna Finch, CEO of Finch and Associates, LLC

Learn more: The best video conferencing apps

3. Chatbots

“For any business that has to deal with customer service, a recession could be an ideal opportunity to invest in chatbots to deal with basic customer queries. A chatbot can handle and resolve many of your contacts, leaving staff members to concentrate on more intensive tasks.

Human intervention will be necessary at times since a chatbot cannot resolve every issue. However, the repetitive, more mundane tasks will be dealt with in a consistent fashion and could dramatically reduce salary costs and waiting times for your customers, leading to improved satisfaction rates. As an added advantage, your chatbot doesn’t need a break; it is available 24/7, and it can be trained to adapt to changing customer needs.”

Jonathan Zacks, Founder and CEO of GoReminders

Learn more: The best chatbot builders

4. Password managers

“If the company’s hit by the recession, it takes tremendous amounts of consideration what the business should cut the costs down on—could be lavish corporate retreats and business lunches or software that is rarely used.

One of the main aspects of leading a business is ensuring the safety of all sensitive information that the company possesses, especially now since many companies operate remotely. Thus, if it comes down to the nitty-gritty, I will always advocate for the use of password management software. Cloud-based password managers, 1Password and LastPass being good examples, allow you to access your password vault from any device as long as you have an internet connection.

Password managers ensure that your passwords are secure, strong, unique, and available to you and your employees. What’s more, they keep the history of the uses/changes to ensure company-wide transparency.”

Agnieszka Goulin, Head of People at Spacelift

Learn more: The best password managers

5. CRM software

“CRM stands for customer relationship management, and most organizations have some form of software that helps them keep in touch with customers. It is critical that you have a way to capture customer information, whether business is booming, or you are struggling to fill your pipeline.

A CRM allows you to identify new sales opportunities, keep track of in-progress client relationships, and can help you build new marketing funnels. A well-built CRM, combined with automation (like the connections that Zapier gives you) can improve communication internally and externally to the core customers that matter most.”

Ryan Burch, Owner of Tobie Group

Learn more: How to automate your CRM

6. Employee recognition software

“As humans, we require a sense of belonging to operate at our most successful levels. Recognition is an integral part of this, especially in the workplace. Fortunately, employee recognition software has come a long way in the past decade, and it has moved from a nice-to-have to a must-have solution for successful modern teams.

Do you remember how you felt the last time someone gave you a shout-out at work? Employee recognition has been proven to reduce turnover, improve engagement, and increase morale, so using technology to boost recognition efforts is a no-brainer.”

Ben Travis, Founder of HR Chief

7. Premium antivirus software

“Recessions are difficult for most businesses. During a market downturn, even the smallest setback could cause massive internal disruption. For this reason, maintaining a robust security system is something that all businesses must prioritize, not forgo, if they wish to emerge from the other side.

Though paid antivirus software may seem like an unnecessary cost during a recession, the layers of added protection are more than worth the investment. Malwarebytes Premium costs as little as $49.99 per device per year, and in return, you get real-time coverage against malware, priority phone support, and full protection against threats like ransomware, zero-day exploits, and phishing.

The risk of a security breach far outweighs the cost of doing business safely and securely. During these times, investing in security remains a smart and sensible decision for any business with proprietary technology or confidential company data. It’s a small price to pay for the longevity of your business.”

Max Wesman, Chief Operating Officer at GoodHire

8. Google Workspace

“It’s possible this is too obvious, but Google Workspace really is the central nervous system of our company communication. Email, calendars, shared documents, and contact lists are indispensable. This is true come economic rain or shine. In a recession context, it’s even possible these services are more critical, given the crucial role that email, scheduling, and shared documents play in business development.”

Trevor Ewen, CEO of Southport Technology Group

9. Remote device management

“Mobile device management (MDM) provides businesses with a modern way of keeping track of device inventory and maintaining control over their MDM assets. During downward trends, MDM can provide organizations with business continuity that they could not previously ensure.

If a remote employee is terminated, a device can be immediately locked to avoid having company data compromised. The right MDM platform can provide essential automation and control that help employees stay productive, and organizations scale while remaining secure.”

Jason Dettbarn, Founder & CEO of Addigy

10. Community-building channels

“With engagement rates dropping and CPMs increasing on social networks, it is more essential than ever to be deeply connected to your customers. Building a robust community will help drive awareness, increase leads and conversion, and will make Discord one of your most effective marketing channels.

Discord grew up in gaming and evolved to be a platform for anyone to easily stand up their own community. Discord offers chat, voice and video, and depending on your community needs, you may use some or all features. The platform enables private branded spaces and doesn’t have ads; therefore, it is easier to manage and keep out trolls, misinformation, and drama. Additionally, a user’s social status does not matter, and therefore everyone has a voice.

Beyond bringing people together, many brands use Discord as their support channel. Gucci, Adidas, Opensea, and Fortnite are examples of successful brands building community on Discord.”

Karen OBrien, Advisor at Surf

Learn more: How to build a community on Discord

11. Human resources information system

“A human resources information system (HRIS) is indispensable for organizations.  Employees are an organization’s most important asset. First impressions are everlasting, and it starts with the hiring process. The HRIS should be housed in one platform (or be able to communicate with all platforms), so the onboarding experience is seamless.

Organizations must ensure they attract and retain top talent, and many great candidates are lost during this process because of a poor HRIS and onboarding process. Improve your organization’s onboarding process by investing in an innovative HRIS—it will help maintain a competitive edge.”

Robin Hughes, Chief Human Resources Officer of R Hughes & Associates

Automation ties these tools together

Once you’ve figured out which tools are indispensable to your tech stack—no matter how much you’re cutting back—you want to be sure those apps can talk to each other. Automation can save you even more money by freeing up your team members to do more high-impact work. Read more about how to recession proof your business with automation.

This article originally appeared on Zapier’s blog and is reprinted with permission.