There is business software for almost anything you want – from the ubiquitous Microsoft Office suite of programmes to those with far narrower applications, such as computer-aided design (CAD) and financial trading software. Different industries have their own needs too – there’s ecommerce solutions for online retailers and time-tracking software for professional services. There are even some incredibly niche vertical applications, including software for prisons, funeral directors and nail salons.
But there is some basic software that every business should have. This is our rundown of the must-have solutions for every business.
General Office Applications
We’re all familiar with office applications for spreadsheets, word processing, presentations, email and web browsers. These are the likes of Office 365, iWork and the Google Workplace suite of tools.
These programmes are vital for all businesses, allowing you to easily create documents, obtain information and communicate with partners, clients and suppliers.
Accounts software is essential. Every business needs a bookkeeping system that will record income, and expenditure, keep track of VAT, manage invoicing and payments, and produce vital financial reports.
It does all the number crunching for you, automating the repetitive and laborious work and making your business more efficient.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRM software organises and manages your customer information. It helps your salespeople to track prospects through the sales funnel, by managing appointments and recording the outcomes. More sophisticated systems can score leads to identify the best targets to follow up with.
CRM software manages your sales pipeline, providing you with an in-depth profile of your prospects and customers, and your contact history with them. The insight it delivers can help to drive sales.
Marketing software comes in a broad range of types. At its most basic, it includes email marketing software – like Mailchimp – which allows you to manage your contact lists and to communicate with them via email campaigns.
Another essential is social media management software – such as HootSuite, Buffer or Sprout Social. This makes it easier to post to your various social channels, and to schedule them advance. You can also use it to monitor your own presence and activity – and that of your competitors.
At the top end of the scale, there’s marketing automation software – like Marketo, Salesforce Pardot, HubSpot and Oracle Eloqua. These are sophisticated solutions that link with your website, to manage landing pages and blog posts, and can also handle your social media. Marketing automation systems track inbound leads as well as those from your campaigns, producing insightful analytics.
At their heart, HR systems organise your staff records. Some systems also manage payroll, and track leave requests and absence. It streamlines your HR processes and organises your employee data.
More niche needs can be catered for too. There is software for performing 360-degree feedback sessions, and systems that will manage your recruitment processes or staff onboarding.
Enterprise Resource Planning software – like NetSuite – manages your entire business. So, instead of having separate software systems for finance, CRM, HR, supply chain management, marketing, ecommerce and so on, you can use a single system that will manage all of those, and many more functions too.
Growing companies rely on ERP as their business management software. It works across your whole company, giving you a clear picture of what’s going on in your business. Using one system like this is often better than trying to integrate separate solutions from different suppliers.
Project Management and Collaboration
Project management and collaboration software helps your teams keep track of projects and meet deadlines. Whatever you use in your own company – be it Trello, Asana, Jira, Basecamp or Monday – it collates all the information your team needs to stay on top of their work.
Project management tools can transform productivity, allowing you to apply agile methodology and to break down complex projects into smaller, more-achievable tasks. It allows everyone in the project team to monitor the status of their own and others’ actions. This oversight brings better accountability, ensuring projects meet their goals and are completed on time.
Communications applications like Slack and Microsoft Teams ease internal communications. With instant messaging and file sharing functionality, they eliminate unwieldy email chains and slower back-and-forth communications.
They offer a simple, centralised platform for employees to swiftly interact with each other – whether they are in the office, out in the field or working from home.
Teams and Slack both have in-built video conferencing features, but you can’t call externally using Slack. It’s here that applications like Zoom come to the fore. They are vital for communicating with suppliers, partners and clients, and especially so while many people are still working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic.
All these business software tools can help a company to achieve more. They ease communication, and collaboration, grant better access to data and analytics, and manage staff, prospects and customers. They help companies run more effectively, and this allows them to achieve their goals and enhance their productivity.
If you’re considering integrating one or more of these systems by implementing an ERP solution, NoBlue can help you with a demonstration or a free business consultation. Book an appointment now or get in touch. Our certified consultants are available to help audit your current software and recommend the right ERP solution for your business.