The use of business software is something companies should include when coming up with their business strategies. Businesses nowadays can no longer escape the need to use computers and the internet. It’s virtually impossible to conduct business without having to get involved with computers and the internet.
The advantages in using business software are too compelling to be ignored.
- Efficiency– This is arguably the most important reason why businesses should consider investing in the use of business software. Many aspects of business operations become easier when there’s software involved—from marketing to inventory management, accounting, and reporting.
- Quick Access to Business Data– Using business software means having digitized data that are easier to access, analyze, and use for making reports or presentations.
- Faster Transactions– With POS and ecommerce software, for example, transactions can be quickly completed, something not only advantageous to the business but also to customers.
- Automation– Many aspects of a business operation can be automated with various business software. Expense, inventory, sales, salary, overhead, and various other information can be automatically compiled and turned into reports or financial statements. It is also possible to share data across different business software.
- Accuracy and Compliance– Business data gathering, compilation, processing, and analysis is not only going to be fast with the help of business software. Errors are also bound to be greatly minimized. Calculation errors will be completely avoided. On the other hand, compliance to government regulations can also become easier as most business software nowadays have been created to ensure compliance.
- A Better Glimpse of Business Operations– Lastly, the use of business software provides a comprehensive glimpse of business activities, something that helps managers or business owners in coming up with more thoughtful plans and decisions.
Including Software in Business Strategizing
With the aforementioned advantages in mind, it only makes sense Including software in coming up with business strategies.
Before starting business operations, it’s advisable to identify the different areas that can be made more efficient with the use of business software. It would be good to anticipate the need and prepare for it instead of hastily looking for an appropriate software when you think you need it. This is not to say that it’s not good to decide on getting the software when you already think it’s necessary. It’s just better to plan everything out, including the software you will be using, since business strategizing also involves the allocation of resources—and you need to allocate some resources for acquiring the software.
As you plan your marketing strategy, for example, it would be advisable to decide earlier if you are willing to spend for marketing software or not. Will you allot resources for marketing software or will you just rely on a third party marketing solutions provider? This is important because the success of your marketing strategy will be affected. You can’t just decide to employ software while your marketing plan is already being carried out. Doing so is not only going to confuse your marketing campaign, it will also make it difficult to measure if your marketing plan succeeded the way it was planned.
Similarly, if you are planning your project management strategy, you have to ascertain if you want to use software or if you want to do it the typical way sans the aid of software. While it’s not a completely bad idea introducing software into your project management setup only after a few months or after you realize the need for it, the process is not going to be easy especially if you have a highly bureaucratic management system. It can even be disruptive with all the need to adjust to the new setup and the incompatibility of the other software being used by the company. It’s good if you can find a project management software that can be integrated with the other software you use. If the case is otherwise, you may have to make a lot of far-from-seamless adjustments.
The idea here is that as you develop your business strategy, it would be preferable if you already decided on whether or not you are going to use software for a specific undertaking. Software use is more effective when it is a part of the strategy and not just a contingency or an afterthought.
Examples of Important Business Software
Featured below are different types of business software worth considering. They cover specific aspects of business operations although some may have overlapping functions. These are the types of business software worth spending for.
- Accounting and Invoicing Software– It would be difficult to run a business without a good accounting software. This is the software you need to record your financial transactions and generate financial statements that will be used not only for your evaluation but also for other important purposes such as taxation and presentation to potential investors.
- Customer Relationship Management Software– This is software used for managing a company’s interaction with current and prospective customers.
- Enterprise Resource Planning Software– Also known as ERP, this is software used for the integrated management of core business processes including inventory control, product planning, production, manufacturing, sales, marketing, shipping, and payment.
- Marketing Software– Obviously, this is software intended for handling the promotions or marketing campaigns of a business. The term covers software solutions for email marketing, content marketing, SEO, and social media marketing.
- Job or Project Management– Project management software is usually an integrated software tool created to handle various processes including lead management, task or job management, costing, document management, purchase orders, invoicing, and reporting.
- Inventory Management Software – As the term infers, this software is used to track inventory levels, orders, sales, as well as deliveries. It may also include service management and inventory optimization functions.
- Web Conferencing Software– More than just video chat, video conferencing comes with features to support activities like web seminars and online presentations (slide shows). They may also come with video streaming and session recording features.
- Online Collaboration Platform– Collaboration software does more than what web conferencing does. It may have video and text chats as a main feature but its core function is to allow multiple employees to work together through a platform that allows quick file sharing, desktop sharing, annotation, session recording, and other functions.
If you are in the process of establishing your business, you may want to consider some if not all of the basic business software featured above to complement or supplement your business strategy. Just remember that your strategy should make good use of the software you choose. Business software shouldn’t be mere accessories as they are very much capable of providing palpable advantages.