Business software is an expensive yet necessary cost for the majority of companies. Regardless of the industry type, your SME is going to need a system to manage sales and accounting at the very minimum. Many ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) sell their software as a service (SaaS) through an annual or monthly subscription, similar to your Netflix (we’re assuming you’re not using your friend’s account here). The challenge with business software is that technology is constantly changing and evolving, meaning that the system you’re currently using may be eclipsed by something more powerful, with features more appropriate and beneficial for your business. If your competitor is using a superior software, they’ll have a key advantage which could result in them acquiring more market share. So what should you look for when choosing business software?
Cloud-Based Software Is Essential
Cloud-based software has some major advantages over locally hosted software. The difference between them is, locally hosted software is installed and accessible from a single computer, or group of computers, in one location. Cloud-based, on the other hand, means that your software runs on a remote server which you can access from any computer or device. This means that 1) updates can be sent straight to your device, whether that be a computer, iPad or tablet, 2) your data is backed up and secure, and 3) you can work from anywhere.
The biggest benefit, however, of having a cloud-based system is that the companies who supply the software can provide new updates, features and innovations remotely, in the same way that your phone updates. Locally hosted software requires a callout from a technician to come and update your software, which is costly and far more of a hassle. They key then, is to choose a company that provides cloud-based software, and one which constantly updates its platform so that it offers the features from which your business will benefit most.
Software That Meets Your Needs
There are a few things that must be considered when choosing business software. Many applications are single-purpose, meaning that specialise in providing software that manages one aspect of operation. For example, a platform for stock control will only manage your inventory, and isn’t going to be much help in regards to making sales. Many businesses use several platforms and systems to manage different areas of the company, and this can present several disadvantages relating to cost, employee training, software compatibility issues, and unproductive time management. Scoro has covered this in further depth here. Software companies have addressed this issue by creating more complete platforms that offer a range of services, greatly reducing the number of systems needed for business management.
Key Reporting, Insights and Growth Tools
Ensure the system you have in place to manage your business has a detailed reporting section in order for you to gain insights and analytics on all areas of your business. An EPOS and business management platform like Tillpoint includes a very detailed reporting app that lets your track key areas, including sales, accounting, customers and staff. Gaining a deep understanding of your business through these insights allows you to make better business decisions, as you’re relying on real-life data rather than manager intuition.