What is business software?
For modern businesses, business software is a critical part of their everyday operations, performing any of a number of business functions. Software is most often used to increase efficiency in business operations while reducing dependency on human labour, helping companies maximise revenue.
How does software help business?
The central way software can help businesses is through increasing efficiency. Software can speed up processes immensely, either by helping humans perform tasks more quickly, or by automating tasks, removing the need for manual input entirely.
To take an example, customer service teams benefit from help desk business software in many ways. When customers get in touch, the software may make ‘tickets’ which queue communications, or ask fielding questions that direct the query to the most relevant service agent. Once agents mark queries as ‘resolved’, the software will automatically archive the tickets. The software will also record the communications for training purposes or in case of disputes.
The above is a simple demonstration of how software can help businesses. Automated elements save time, while smooth management improves customer service and assists efficiency.
Bespoke software vs off-the-shelf software
Business software can be either off-the-shelf, or bespoke.
Off-the-shelf software is predesigned software with a ‘one size fits all’ ethos. These software types offer general features within their application type. Limited customisation is also usually available for business softwares. As its name suggests, off-the-shelf software is ready to use right out of the box. Smaller businesses tend to begin by utilising off-the-shelf software before moving onto bespoke solutions.
Bespoke software is designed specifically for a business, mirroring their current work processes and team set up, and helping perform, record or report on the tasks needed within the business. While bespoke software is time-consuming to create and more expensive than off-the-shelf, long-term it can dramatically improve business productivity, giving adopters a competitive advantage. Helastel is an example of a bespoke software development company, mapping out individual business requirements before designing business software that can meet these needs.
On-premises software vs cloud-based software
Software used to be installed on premises onto each user’s computer as standard, running locally from each machine. However, it’s increasingly common for software to reside in the cloud, hosted externally and accessed via web browser.
There are many benefits to cloud-based business software, including access through multiple devices, no responsibility for maintenance and support, quick deployment and enhanced flexibility. However, some specialist industries may still favour on-premises business software due to need for complete control, or heightened levels of security.
What are examples of business application software?
There are countless types of business software available. Below are some of the most common.
All businesses need to keep accurate track of their accounts, so it stands to reason that accounting software is one of the most widespread types of business software. Accounting software can help companies keep track of their bookkeeping needs, including payroll, invoicing, paying suppliers, reporting and more. Larger enterprise-level businesses may require more complex solutions that can integrate with related operations such as supply chain management, stock control, or business intelligence.
Project management software
When there are many different facets to a project, or several different stakeholders involved, project management software can be invaluable. This type of software simplifies complex requirements by breaking projects down into individual tasks, and helping managers assign jobs to teams or individuals, and keep on top of budgets and time constraints. A good project management tool will offer an at-a-glance overview of project health, and clearly highlight areas in which the project is failing to meet objectives. Typical features on project management business software may include kanban boards, Gantt charts, to-do lists, calendars and more.
Customer relationship management system
A CRM system is the software used to manage a business’ points of contact with their customers. CRMs are designed to streamline client relationships through automating simple processes, recording communications, and helping organise campaigns. A good CRM system will help busy sales and marketing teams drive sales through increasing efficiency, driving sales and ultimately boosting revenue.
Driven by advances in technology, business software is becoming increasingly sophisticated. The creation of the Internet of Things has created massive data sets that have grown the potential of business software, while advances in machine learning have in turn enabled automation to a level as-yet unseen. All this means that businesses will become ever-more reliant on business software, as it evolves in scope and capability.