When it comes to running your business, the software you choose can make all the difference. While there are certain software packages that are designed to meet very specific needs, such as construction-specific software, there are other products that all businesses should use to help improve productivity and efficiency, and ultimately improve their profitability. These products include accounting software, office software, and communication and collaboration tools.
Accounting software helps businesses automate billing, accounts payable, and payroll functions, freeing up personnel resources for other business-crucial tasks. They also provide a way to record and measure costs, sales and profits as well as analyze data to reveal patterns and trends in business performance. There are also software options like expense report management software. The Chrome River expense report, for instance, allows businesses to accurately and efficiently track and manage employee expenses.
Office software offers the standard productivity tools like word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation software. Some packages also include database management software to help businesses organize information electronically as well as email clients.
Microsoft Office is the most common office software package used by businesses and individuals alike. Microsoft even offers an online service for small businesses called Office 365 Small Business. However, there are other packages, like OpenOffice.org, that are compatible with Microsoft Office without the higher price tag.
Communication and Collaboration Tools.
Communication and collaboration tools allow individuals to share information with others within the business. These tools could include stand-alone email clients like Microsoft Outlook, and cloud servers for storing and sharing information, to more robust products like Groupware and IBM Notes, which include application development tools, database management, message boards, and even video conferencing.
While not all businesses need the more robust products, they can all benefit from even the simple collaborative tools, which allow users to share large amounts of information with multiple recipients.
Desktop versus Web-Based.
Both types of software have their advantages and disadvantages.
Desktop software allows users to work offline and save information directly to their computer hard drives. The applications often have more functionality because they use the computer’s operating system, memory and storage to run. The disadvantages are that desktop software tends to be more expensive and you have to buy additional licenses for every machine on which they are installed. Business owners also need to make sure all their machines meet the right technical specifications for disk space, RAM, and processing speed to effectively run the software.
Web-based software allows users to work from any location that has internet access. Some programs also allow people to work offline then upload the information once they are online. Additionally, web-based software is often cheaper than the desktop version. The disadvantages are that users must be online, unless the software has an offline function. Also, users might not be able to store files on their hard drives, or may have to take extra steps to make it happen.
Some offices use a combination of web-based and desktop apps that allow users the flexibility they need to work on or offline. Certain manufacturers, like Microsoft and Chrome River, also offer mobile apps to allow users access to their software from iPhones or Android smartphones.