What to Consider When Evaluating Business Software Solutions
Read time: 3 min.
If you could automate the manual tasks on your to-do list, wouldn’t you? Simply put, that’s what today’s business software solutions are designed to do – perform various business functions with the intention to streamline and automate processes, increase data visibility and better inform business decisions.
Using modern business software allows you to work smarter, not harder. As technology continues to advance and evolve, organizations are utilizing the latest tools to advance productivity without increasing the time it takes an employee to perform their job. That’s where business software solutions enter – but what are they, and how can your company use one to grow?
Making life easier with business software
By definition, business software solutions are a broad category of applications and tools used to perform business functions and processes more efficiently. These can run the gamut from focusing primarily on project management or financials to an all-in-one solution.
Regardless of what you require a business management software to do for you, it needs to make your job easier. There are dozens of products on the market today designed to do that; however, there are specific features and functionality to keep in mind when you’re evaluating options.
Main components of good business software solutions
As we said, there are plenty of business management solutions from which to choose. While many specialize in a specific area, most will address some core functions. These include:
- Inventory Management
- Project management
- Sales and marketing
How to choose the right business software for your organization
It’s important to begin by understanding your business needs. Do you require a solution that can better track your team’s progress? Do you need to shorten your financial close? Are you experiencing frequent inventory stockouts? Recognizing where there’s room for improvement can help you to maintain focus and narrow the field during the software evaluation process.
As you begin the software selection process, evaluate these factors:
- Assess your needs: There’s a reason you’re looking for a business software solution. What is it? What tasks should it be able to accomplish? Maybe your finance department requires new accounts payable software – consider solutions with accounting and finance tools as their bread and butter. Do you have a lot of employees working remotely? Narrowing your search to cloud-based solutions, or consider deploying traditionally on-premise software in the cloud.
- Pinpoint your problem areas: What’s causing your business-related headaches? If you never know how much inventory is in your warehouse, find a warehouse management system to focus on what’s holding you back.
- Understand your priorities: Where do you want your business to go? Whether it’s to improve customer satisfaction or expand your client base, determine what’s most important for the future of your organization.
- Consider your budget: Business software varies in price depending on a number of factors. A solution with all the bells and whistles will likely come with a high price tag. Choose the features that are integral and go from there based on what your budget will allow.
ERP as a business software solution
Growing businesses, especially small businesses, often purchase programs for individual functions – one program for sales, an accounting software and different systems for payroll and more. While this works initially as a bandage, eventually you’ll find that having multiple disparate systems doesn’t support business growth. The need arises for one, main software solution to handle all of the important areas of your business.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software comes in many sizes and forms but possesses key characteristics. First, ERP software allows your to manage your business with one solution. Departments across your company can access data in real time, encouraging communication and reducing confusion.
ERP provides a number of business benefits, including:
- One source of truth: This term means that all business data is accessible in one location. Benefits of this include better visibility, real-time reporting and increased efficiency.
- Modular design: ERP systems operate with distinct business modules that manage each aspect of the organization. Each module functions separately but all are fully integrated in order to provide a seamless view of data.
- Better reporting and planning: ERP software’s real-time data visibility improves reporting, which provides business leaders with more context and the ability to make more informed planning decisions.
- Automation of manual processes: Reduce your employee workload by automating straightforward tasks through ERP, allowing them to focus on more complex duties.