Business

9 Software Applications Every Business Needs

Businesses run on software now, which handles everything from their payroll and accounts, to their communication, right through to basic workflows. Even the smallest business is utterly reliant on software.

Get the mix of software right, and the boost to your company’s productivity will be measurable. However, allow the organisation to be loaded down with poor quality software applications, and you’ll find even the most basic tasks to be inefficient and laborious.

Here are some of the most critical software applications that every business needs.

Administration

When it comes to managing the business itself, software has a critical role to play for meeting taxation requirements, keeping customers happy, and helping people work to optimal productivity.

Accounting: The better accounting software packages can even automate invoicing, accounts payable, payroll and taxation submission information, helping to free your time away from the busywork while giving you a clear and real-time understanding of your company’s financial position.

CRM: The CRM is so essential to the customer experience. A good CRM tracks the interactions that a customer has with you on every touchpoint, from when they email through to when they call in to the contact centre. By making that information actively available to customer-facing employees, no matter what the department, your customers will have a consistent (and therefore positive) interaction with the company.

Calendar and Collaboration: The better modern productivity software packages will include calendar tools that can be shared publicly. The benefit of this is that people know when they should not be scheduling their co-worker’s time, and when they’ll not be available. Meanwhile, collaboration tools, backed by fast Internet connections, allow for seamless video communication and collaboration, meaning that people no longer need to be in the same room to host a productive and meeting.

Productivity suites: From drafting text documents and reports, to building presentations and managing spreadsheets, productivity tools are some of the most heavily used examples of software, and in daily use for most of us. It’s certainly beats writing by hand!

Marketing

Software has a critical role to play in reaching new customers and maintaining a connection with existing customers.

Email marketing: For all the multitudes of ways to advertise in 2022, email marketing remains one of the most effective at getting your brand in front of consumers. It’s inexpensive, repeatable, highly engaging, and with features like A/B testing, you can refine your marketing message over time to optimise engagement.

Analytics: Analytics allows you to understand how your company is performing in the market. Through analytics you can track visitors to your Website, engagement over social media, conversions (i.e. how compelling is your messaging and is it convincing people to buy), and whether people have a positive perception of your business.

Creativity

It used to be the case that you had to spend big money on getting professionals to design every piece of visual asset in your business. Times are rapidly changing in this regard, with software solutions allowing you to take control over your own messaging, and cutting prices as you do so.

Website/Blogging: The best way to make an impact with your Website is by keeping it updated. Running a blog section where you share weekly (or even daily!) news, insights, and information relating to your business and sector is a sure-fire strategy to both ensure regular visitors to the Website, and establish you as a thought leader, thereby making you a more trustworthy person to buy from.

Graphic design websites: There are a number of websites now that allow you to create visually engaging fliers, posters, booklets, logos and more, all using stock images (or your own). These allow you to create highly engaging promotional materials without engaging the assistance of an advertising executive first.

Podcasting/video production: In the era of social media, customers don’t need to see professional-grade video to be engaged with it. We all have access to basic video capture equipment via our phones, and there are free and easy-to-use editing suites readily available online.

Perhaps even more compelling, however, is the ability to podcast. With an inexpensive microphone, you can start and manage a podcast with maintenance, and in doing so speak directly to your audience. People appreciate seeing and hearing people representing brands, as it helps to give them personality and character, and subsequently keeps them top-of-mind.

With so many software applications proving so beneficial to companies, there is one downside that you need to pay close attention to: cost. Most software applications are sold via a subscription model now: you pay a set amount per license, each month, to access it. Stop paying and the application can no longer be loaded. If you don’t monitor your IT environment closely for what your employees actually use, and what is going unused, you could end up spending way too much on your software. 

Make sure you conduct a regular audit of your software environment, however, and then you’ll be able to sit back and reap the productivity and efficiency value that these software packages add to your business.

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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