Although every business has different things that are critical to its success, the most critical may be having the right software and equipment. Without these two things, your business won’t go far — even if you’ve developed a realistic business plan based on a validated market, raised sufficient funding to manage unexpected startup expenses, developed excellent money management strategies to ensure steady cash flow and got the right talent on board to implement your vision.
Deciding on the best software for your business is difficult. With the plethora of first-rate software now available, it can be challenging for you to narrow down your selection to the most “business-critical applications.” Still, it’s vital for you to do your homework to choose the right software as your selection will play a significant role in determining the success of your business.
Business-critical applications are those that help manage various aspects of your business, such as operations, security, employees, finances and marketing.
1. Managing operations
What software is essential for the operation of your business? In other words, without which software would your business either grind to a halt or run inefficiently at a high cost?
If you have a web design business, for example, you won’t be able to build first-class websites without design software like Photoshop or Illustrator. Similarly, if you’re a manufacturer or a distributor, you’ll need to ensure supply chain efficiency to have a successful business. Inefficiency, in the form of numerous errors and slow downtimes, can cost your business hundreds of thousands of dollars. Consequently, in order to run a cost-effective business, you’ll benefit from having an automated warehouse system
So in order to run your business well, you’ll need to identify those applications that make it possible for your business to manage its core operations with peak efficiency.
2. Managing Human Capital
Without human resource software, your company can’t hope to effectively handle all of the myriad aspects of managing employees. This software is necessary for recruiting, for onboarding and for managing the workforce. It’s also essential for management and time scheduling, as well as providing your business with a payroll solution.
3. Managing Finances
In order to manage your finances, you’ll need accounting software. This records and processes all of your transactions within familiar accounting modules like a general ledger, accounts payable and accounts receivable, to name a few. In short, it functions as an information system for money coming into your company, as well as money going out of it.
4. Managing Marketing and Sales
When it comes to marketing, your marketing team benefits from using marketing automation. This automates tedious and repetitive tasks related to your multiple online channels. For instance, it expedites tasks related to email marketing, social media marketing and website marketing. However, it’s best to use this software when you have a steady flow of organic leads coming into your website. Marketing automation software isn’t very useful if you don’t have your lead generation process up to speed.
5. Managing Security
You’ll need a comprehensive security system to protect your business from a wide assortment of cyber attacks. When you consult with a security analyst, they’ll ensure you that your security is complete by identifying basic security safeguards, identifying general and intentional security threats, identifying security measurements and identifying emergency response services. In other words, an analyst will reflect on everything, from how to provide layered security against a variety of potential threats to worst-case scenarios like a disaster recovery plan.
6. Managing Sales
When it comes to sales, the use of sales management software will make it easier for your sales managers to get invaluable insights about key performance indicators. The software also makes it easy to see how sales representatives are doing when it comes to meeting sales goals.
In the past, on-premise infrastructure was a necessity, but with the advent of cloud computing, your business can fulfill almost all of its software needs by using the services of a cloud provider. Supported by a high-performance cloud service, all of your business operations will run smoothly if you have enough high-end computers, smartphones and basic office equipment like printers, scanners and fax machines.
Naturally, this is by no means a comprehensive list of things your business needs, but it’ll give you a better idea of how to decide whether the hardware or software you’re planning on using is merely useful, or if it serves a critical purpose.