We all know that software can automate many business functions and assist in the efficient operation of many areas of your company. Email and instant messenger improve interoffice communication, Intranet sites keep employees informed, allow easy access to company forms and documents and we all know how office productivity suites have made documentation, presentations and more much easier. But the desktop side is only part of the overall picture regarding software for businesses. Business management software is a key area that deserves attention if your company truly wants to be organized, customer-focused and growth-oriented. Three key areas covered by many popular business management software packages are Accounting, CRM and eCommerce.
Is your business getting the most out of its accounting software? Many companies only use the bare minimum of their features, like GL, receivables, payables, billing, purchase orders and inventory. There is much more to accounting management software than that. Mid-market software packages like Microsoft Dynamics, Peachtree and Quickbooks expand the scope of traditional accounting applications by offering features like project accounting, multicurrency support, cost accounting and more. Other accounting apps offer payroll modules and a variety of features to give business owners the opportunity to consolidate multiple existing systems into a single accounting platform. On the higher end, developers like Lawson and Oracle offer support for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), which unifies all accounting and management data to give stakeholders a powerful, broad forecast of the company's financial standing now and in the future.
"CRM" stands for Customer Relationship Management. CRM is an all-encompassing system for communicating with customers, clients, partners and sales prospects. The goal of a properly-implemented CRM system is to have a one-stop application for all data, in order to streamline customer relations. This saves time and money by keeping all customer data organized and at the fingertips of corporate salespeople and account managers, who can use the data to manage existing customer relationships, attract old clients back to your company, network to find new business and reduce the marketing budget by minimizing processes. For ease of use in the office and on the road, CRM solutions are typically web-based, such as Sage CRM, Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. CRM applications consolidate modules for sales force automation, marketing and campaigns, client service and support, partner portals, e-surveys and more into one user friendly interface.
If your company is only doing business bricks-and-mortar style, then you're missing out on an enormous segment of the market. Leveraging the power of eCommerce solutions is an easy way to offer your products to a worldwide audience. Even service industries can benefit from eCommerce.
eCommerce solutions can be as simple as a well-designed website built to drive referrals and business to your company, or it can be as complex as a fully-featured online storefront. A customer and partner portal, where clients, your business' suppliers and upstream partners can log in to place orders, check status and communicate with your team, is another example of an eCommerce solution.
Many accounting software packages, like Intacct, Lawson, Mamut Software Limited and NetSuite offer eCommerce modules to make it easier to do business online. There are also web sites like instantestore.com, cs-cart.com, storefront.net and Shopify that offer simple shopping cart services and various other eCommerce solutions to get your business started.
Once your company's desktop software is running and your workforce is happy, it's time to examine your business management software. Is it enough to suit your needs or would something new make you more effective and profitable? Accounting, CRM and eCommerce are the three primary areas to analyze to determine if newer and better management software is right for you.