Every department in your company needs specific business software solutions for the different departments within their organization.
Business software solutions exist for:
For each departmental function in an organization, there are different business software solutions that are tailored to meet those needs. Even Senior Management requires a business software solution for consolidated reporting, and other management tools. This article will discuss the main categories of business software solutions for every department in your company.
The accounting department in a company is responsible for the financial management of a company and includes: financial and fixed asset reporting, payroll, accounts payable, general and subsidiary ledgers, revenues processing, financial statements, GAAP compliance, financial records, budgeting, performance evaluation, cost management, and asset management.
There are many different types of business software solutions for accounting. Some of the key things to consider when evaluating accounting software may depend on specific criteria for your organization – i.e. whether your company is private or public, whether your company has subsidiaries and /or operates in multiple currencies, whether your company has inventory management or e-commerce management needs, to name a few. All of these factors need to be weighed when selecting a business software solution for your accounting department.
Public companies have a higher level of accountability and scrutiny from investors as well as regulatory organizations. In particular, publicly traded companies must comply with Sarbanes Oxley and are required to have independent CPA firms review all their financial statements. Notwithstanding, sophisticated and reputable accounting business software solutions for public companies are deemed mission critical.
There are many types of business software solutions for accounting that are geared towards specific industries. Some examples would be specific accounting software packages for the retail, hotel management, restaurant, banking, insurance, health care, manufacturing industries. Since the tax accounting rules are different for different types of industries, it might be worthwhile to evaluate a package that is specifically tailored for that industry. Some examples of business software solutions for the accounting function in specific industries include offerings by Business Plus Accounting – Restaurant Professional Edition, Business Plus Accounting – Hotel and Property Management Edition, Business Plus Accounting – Touch POS Edition.
For small businesses, Intuit offers off-the-shelf business software solutions that help smaller accounting departments keep track of invoices and ensures that they are tax ready and compliant. For large corporations, NetSuite offers NetSuite Financial, a comprehensive business suite that supports all key back-office operations and business processes and covers Financial Management, Financial Planning, Inventory and Supply Chain Management, Order Management, and Services Resource Planning as well as other modules.
The human resources department in an organization is concerned with a number of different areas: Performance Management, Employee Data, Training, Payroll, Benefits, and Compliance. Business software solutions for the HR function address all of these areas of management. In some cases, there are so many employees at a company that there is not enough physical space for all the paperwork required to maintain all the employee data records, necessitating the implementation of a human resources business software solution. At large organizations, there are also other complex HR processes in place. For example, in the case of, employee performance evaluations, there are often strict guidelines that must be observed to remain in compliance with state and federal laws.
There are many business software solutions that focus specifically on employee performance management. An example of one such provider is Halogen, an award-winning, web-based performance appraisal software that helps organizations quickly create quality employee reviews. A sampling of some of its modules include: Organizational Goal Management, Competency Management, and Career and Development Planning. Halogen eAppraisal is also a part of the fully integrated talent management suite, which includes modules that automate and simplify employee performance appraisal, 360 degree multi-rater feedback, compensation management, and succession planning. An example of another provider is SuccessFactors, which offers an integrated suite of on-demand products that focus on two areas, Business Alignment and People Performance. SuccessFactor has several different product offerings, tailored to meet the needs of emerging, small, mid-size and enterprise organizations.
In addition to talent management, HR departments are also responsible for keeping records of historical wage rate, salary information, disciplinary warnings, workplace accidents, benefit selection, vacation, sick and PTO time, etc, and need a management system to track all of these different items. Human Resources business software solutions also come into play when there is a need to streamline processes to devote more time to strategic level objectives or when there is a need to increase communication across all management levels.
Sales is the revenue-generating side of the business. The sales funnel typically begins with leads, prospects, opportunities and finally closed transactions. Because understanding the sales pipeline and being able to forecast expected revenue is very important for organizations, companies often rely on sales-centric software to help them manage the sales process.
Business software solutions for the Sales function are referred to as Sales Force Automation (SFA) tools. SFA is a system that automatically records all the stages in a sales process and is generally a part of a company’s customer relationship management system (CRM). SFA typically includes a contact management system which tracks all contact information of a customer and provides notes on the content of the call and future follow-ups. SFA also includes a sales lead tracking system, which includes a list of potential customers. SFA systems can include modules that capture sales forecasting, order management and product knowledge. SFA systems are also integrated with all departments that deal with customer service management, in an effort to manage all touch points with a particular customer in one repository, to avoid duplicate phone calls to the same customer from different departments.
Sales force automation as a business software solution is typically included in an overall CRM package. There are many providers in the CRM space, with many differentiations. Some are hosted, others are on-premise solutions. Some have a heavy customer service component, others have strong marketing automation functionality. Different CRM providers may focus on small, mid-size or enterprise organizations or all stages of a company’s growth. Some examples of CRM providers include Salesforce, NetSuite, SAP, Maximizer, Pivotal, Microsoft Dynamics, SugarCRM, and Zoho.
Although SFA is often included as part of an overall CRM package, there are several providers that have a stronger focus on supporting the Sales function within an organization. An example of an SFA provider is Landslide Technologies. Landslide offers its Sales P3 System, which is a best-in-class hosted solution specifically focused on maximizing the effectiveness of the sales organization by including 1) Sales Process Software which not only maps an organization’s unique selling process but also embed selling best practices into the sales team’s day to day activities, 2) Sales Performance Tools which help with lead qualification, buyer alignment, research and prospecting and 3) Live Personal Sales Assistants which is a service that enables sales people to offload data entry, administrative and clerical chores so they can spend more time selling.
The Marketing department in an organization is responsible for promoting a company’s products or services. In B2C companies, Marketing primarily drives the acquisition and retention of new customers. In B2B companies, Marketing primarily supports the Sales team in acquiring new customers. In either case, Marketing performs both outbound and inbound lead generation activities.
Business software solutions for marketing includes Marketing Automation software. Marketing Automation software was designed for marketing departments to simplify processes by automating repetitive tasks, increasing efficiency and reducing human error. There are two categories of Marketing Automation software: Demand Generation and Marketing Workflow Automation.
Demand Generation drives awareness and interest in a company’s products and/or services. Commonly used in business to business, business to government, or longer sales cycles, demand generation involves multiple areas of marketing and combines targeted marketing programs with a structured sales process.
Marketing Workflow Automation focuses on the automation of internal marketing processes, including budgeting and planning, workflow and approvals, the marketing calendar, work collaboration, asset creation and management, and other marketing operations.Like Sales Force Automation software, Marketing Automation software as a business software solution is typically included in an overall CRM package. There are some providers however, that have a particular emphasis on the Marketing Automation component of their CRM solution. Two providers that have this particular strength are Marketo and Eloqua.
Marketo provides marketing automation and sales effectiveness solutions through its two product offerings, Marketo Lead Management and Marketo Sales Insight. Marketo Lead Management provides tools for email marketing, lead nurturing and lead scoring. Marketo Sales Insight is a social sales application that helps sales teams understand, prioritize, and interact with the hottest leads to enable smart selling.
Eloqua provides marketers with a leading marketing automation platform and best practice expertise. Eloqua’s marketing automation platform includes the following: Campaign Management (email, website and landing pages, event management), Lead Management (lead assignment, CRM integration, lead scoring) Contact Management (profiling and segmentation, data integration), and Marketing Measurement (dashboards & reporting, website analytics, campaign analysis).
Operations is responsible for the development and production of goods and services, particularly with respect to manufacturing companies. Operations is also involved in ensuring that business operations are efficient, in terms of using as little resources as needed, in terms of meeting customer requirements.
There are many business software solutions for operations and include applications such as Product lifecycle management, Supply chain management, Warehouse management, Inventory Management, Sales Order Processing, Payroll Processing, Project Management. When several of these types of applications or modules are combined into one system, that system is called an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. ERP systems often also include applications for Financials, Human Resources and Customer Relationship Management.
ERP systems typically handle the manufacturing, logistics, distribution, inventory, shipping, invoicing, and accounting for a company. ERP software can aid in the control of many business activities, including sales, marketing, delivery, billing, production, inventory management, quality management, and human resource management.
ERP systems are cross-functional and enterprise-wide. Functional departments that are involved in operations or production are integrated in a single ERP system.
Some examples of ERP providers focusing on the core operations of manufacturing companies include Consona, Epicor, SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, Syspro, Sage, NetSuite, CDC Software, Plex Systems, Intaact, IFS, Agresso, Global Shop Solutions.
The IT department of a company is responsible for maintaining existing systems, infrastructure and applications and focuses on data management, networking, database, software design, and computer hardware. Business software solutions for IT departments cover a wide range of different types of applications including Application Lifecycle software, Defect Tracking software, Help Desk software, QA Testing software, Email Security, Remote Support, IT Service Management, Asset Management, Project Management software, Systems Management software, Task Management software, Infrastructure Monitoring, Network Management software etc.
There are several major categories of IT business software solutions. We will provide examples of vendors in the Help Desk and Security, Network Management and Monitoring, and IT Asset Management categories.
Some examples of vendors that offer business software solutions for Help Desk or Remote Support include: Epicor, TechExcel, ScriptLogic, LogMeIn, GotoAssist, ScreenConnect, Netviewer, Proxy Networks.
Some examples of vendors that offer business software solutions for Email security include: Ironport, Proofpoint, Tumbleweed, Barracuda Networks, Secure Computing, Borderware, and Symantec.
Some examples of vendors that offer business software solutions for Network Management and Monitoring include: Hyperic, Groundwork, Nagios, HP, CA, Zabbix.
Some examples of vendors that offer business software solutions for IT Asset Management are FrontRange, KACE, Managesoft, Landesk, IBM, BMC Software.
Good customer service is the lifeblood of many organizations. Marketing can offer promotions and reduce pricing and Sales can close the deal, but unless those customers have a positive experience with the product and your company they won’t come back. A customer’s first touch with the customer service call center is crucial to the survival of a company.
Business software solutions for the Customer Service department include software for call centers. A call center is a centralized office that handles a large volume of service requests by telephone. Most major businesses use call centers to interact with their customers. Some examples of vendors that provide Call center software include: inContact, Five9, LiveOps, PhoneFusion, Genesys, Leadmaster. Some examples of vendors that provide Virtual call center software include: Contactual, Angel.com, Avaya, Aspect and Nortel Networks.
Customer Service applications are also often included in CRM package, as part of an overall customer relationship management solution for enterprises. Some CRM providers that specialize in customer service include FrontRange, eGain and Astea.
FrontRange Customer Service solutions include core functionality to be able to track and manage cases, intelligent call routing, relationship management, opportunity management to aid customer service teams to cross sell and up sell, real time role based dashboards to measure metrics and KPI’s, Outlook based activity and email management, forecast tools, easy integration into the existing IT landscape.
eGain helps organizations transform their traditional call centers into multichannel customer interaction hubs. eGain Service is a leading software suite for multichannel customer service and knowledge management. eGain’s customer interaction hub helps organizations enhance the customer experience, improves contact center agent productivity, increases self-service adoption, increase upsell and cross-sell at the point of service, ensures compliance and security in customer interactions, reduces product returns, and builds customer loyalty through brand-aligned customer service.
Astea helps organizations maximize the value of their service operations. The Astea Alliance suite of service management software addresses the complete service lifecycle, from lead generation and project quotation to service and billing.
Business software solutions are available for every department in your company and can help make your business units operate more efficiently and have positive returns on investment. ERP and CRM solutions also combine multiple functional areas onto one platform, making it easier for business units to operate in an integrated fashion, and ultimately making your business more competitive in today’s marketplace.