Software developers have been harnessing various tools to create programs and software that help with different aspects of life, many of which have become so ubiquitous that it’s easy for us to take them for granted. It can be difficult to imagine that such a young industry, something that has only been around for less than half a century, could have such an impact on the world we live in today. One such type of software, business software, has been helping businesses, big and small, keep efficiency up and costs down, whatever the tasks may be.
Now you may find yourself asking, what makes software so important to business owners and entrepreneurs? Why do entrepreneurs think that using software is a great idea? We’re here to answer just that.
What Is Business Software?
Before we can fully appreciate the benefits of software use to entrepreneurs, we’ll first need to understand what business software is. In its most basic form, a business software, or a business application, is any kind of computer program or software that is used by businesses to perform numerous types of business-related functions, such as keeping track of clients, finances and even keeping track of the demands of their customers.
Generally, business applications are developed to meet a specific need of a particular business and is rarely usable by other businesses outside of that business’s niche. This means that each business may need to develop their own software in order to cater to their own needs. This doesn’t mean, however, that off-the-shelf software isn’t available to cover the general needs of all businesses.
There are three kinds of business software, each categorized by their individual business environments:
1. Small Business Software
The software generally found in this market tend to be used in smaller businesses, such as family-owned grocers, small auto shops, or home-based businesses. These businesses generally make use of home accounting software that records and processes accounting records as well as other financial matters.
Small businesses also generally make use of productivity software, or office suites, such as Microsoft Office or Open Office to keep track of what is going on with their businesses.
2. Medium Sized Business Software
The medium-sized enterprises that comprise this group make use of similar software as the small business models, but ones that work on a larger scale. Such businesses make use of a wider range of software, such as customer relationship management software, client management software, large scale accounting software, human resource management software, and many others. These businesses usually involve at least 250 staff and keeping track of a business this size is made more efficient by the right kinds of software.
3. Large Scale Or Enterprise Level Software
The largest of the three forms of business software make use of the more complex forms of programming available. These programs are generally quite extensive in scope and usually would come with modules where the users can add simple native functions or incorporate third-party software, depending on the functionality they require. Programs of this scale include product lifecycle management software, business process management (BPM) software, enterprise content management (ECM) software, and enterprise resource planning software.
The primary use of business software is to maintain and offer its users control without incurring a heavy financial burden. Making use of such programs will help entrepreneurs efficiently manage their business, provided they limit themselves to their needs and nothing more.
A small business, for example, can make use of medium enterprise software, but the general cost of it would be too high if only to be used for a smaller scale than what it is programmed for. This would be an unnecessary cost for a business, it’s similar to buying a chainsaw when all you need to get the work done is a butter knife.
The Benefits Of Software To Entrepreneurs
As we have discussed previously, well-integrated software has the potential to take any business venture into the next level. In this day and age, it’s difficult to imagine any form of business to succeed without the use of programming, particularly if the alternative involves extra labor. Next, we’ll discuss just how beneficial program development is to businesses, and why it’s worth looking into by entrepreneurs.
1. Management Tasks Are Handled Easily
Managing the various departments in a business can be a tedious task, simply due to the number of things that need to be done. What’s more, the bigger a business gets, the more difficult it can be to manage it, regardless of the management skills of those involved. One aspect where the right software can do wonders is organization and delegating work.
The proper organization and control of a business’s resources, be it material or personnel, with the overall aim of meeting its objectives is a cornerstone of many successful businesses. This can be a difficult task for just one person, regardless of how brilliant they are.
Software specifically designed to help with the organization can lower the amount of time needed to plan these tasks accordingly and allow people to simply do what must be done with as little fuss as possible.
2. Software Can Save Time, Labor And Money
In the last century or so, when something needs to be done in any business, it usually involves extra hands on deck. Before the advent of robotics in manufacturing, for example, in order for a company to produce more goods, they would need to hire more people to meet higher quotas. Hiring more people requires extra money and extra time to train them.
On top of that, new employees are also required to be given benefits, adding more strain to a company. With the advent of machinery and robotics, however, companies began to improve their output significantly while minimizing the number of people they need on the payroll. Using business software has more or less the same effect.
While the aim of programs was never to replace employees, they allow one employee to do the work of multiple people at the fraction of the effort, cost and time. This allows a business to do so much more and provide a wider range of services to more people without buckling under its own weight.
3. Improved Efficiency
Much like how the implementations of machines in factories have improved the amount of work that can be done by just one worker, a good program also has the capacity to allow a single employee to do multiple jobs, as fast as possible without sacrificing accuracy.
The right program can also be used with very minimal training on the employee’s part, allowing a company to spend a smaller amount of time in training, putting the employee to work with as little time wasted as possible. Word processors and e-mail programs are just one of the few types of software that can do such things.
4. Businesses Can Store Data Securely
In this era of technological superiority, data theft is a real threat that many companies must contend with. Being on the wrong side of a corporate espionage attack can lead to the collapse of your business, forcing you to not only close your doors but also force potentially hundreds of employees to unemployment. Any data breach can lead to your business being hijacked by a rival company, or bad elements, and can also lead to your clients’ data being sold in the digital black market, degrading the public’s trust towards your business in the process. Making use of proper security software, as well as using proper data storage practices, can help secure a business’s secrets, as well as their clients’.
5. Lessen The Number Of Mistakes You Commit
While technology hasn’t reached the point where human intervention is no longer required, the programs we make use of now is already leagues beyond what we could imagine in the past. A program is only as good as the one who’s using it, however, and it can take only one mistake to force a business into bankruptcy. Luckily for many businesses, there are programs available that have numerous fail-safes in case such errors are indeed made.
A computer, for example, is capable of creating millions of calculations at a fraction of a second, and it can do so within an acceptable margin of error. Programs can make use of this calculating power to collate data, maintain client information, and secure records with just one person behind the keyboard, all without making the same number of mistakes an ordinary human would have.
6. They Can Keep Track Of Progress
The right kinds of program can keep track of your business’s growth, allowing you less time collecting data for your reports, and more time actually doing something to improve the company. Without the use of software, keeping records of a company can take time and manpower, which can easily be avoided.
Custom Software vs. Off The Shelf Software
Every business has specific needs that must be met, no matter what the size. Technological solutions to certain problems can give companies the right kind of advantage competitively, but only when it’s done right. Any business that doesn’t make use of the right tools would certainly fail. Making use of software specially designed to cater to the unique needs of a business can help a business digitize their operations more effectively.
While the choice between off the shelf software and custom software has been a hotly contested debate, it is well known that a lot of off the shelf software fall short of meeting the specific needs of a company. While off the shelf software isn’t completely useless, they are usually bundled with features that aren’t needed by a specialized business venture. Custom software can meet all the needs a business may have as the demand arises, though they tend to be more expensive.
Custom software has numerous advantages, some of them are listed below:
1. They Adjust To You, Not You To Them
One common issue faced by business owners when using a new program is that they may need to change how they do things in order to make use of it. This can potentially cost more money, as well as more time wasted training employees to use the program. Having a custom software means you can tailor them to how your business works, not the other way around, saving you time and money.
2. Easier Integration
By using custom software, a business can easily integrate new programs to the system, allowing it to work without causing compatibility issues on other programs in the system. A properly integrated system means everything can be controlled at a centralized point, making life easier for the employees. Opting for 3rd party software could cause your system to not work efficiently, because each one may cause problems with one another’s programming.
3. Easier Scalability
Because custom made software are created with a particular business’s needs in mind, it will take minimal effort to update this software as the business itself grows. This provides a company better long-term options than off the shelf ones would.
4. Easier Maintenance
Custom software is easier to maintain and operate since they are designed in-house, meaning support is not far away, and usually within the same building, just in a different department. Off the shelf, the software will require you to contact their manufacturers for support, since they are considered third-party components. If problems arise with the custom software, they can be looked into, and eventually fixed in a timely and efficient manner.
Making use of software within any business is a prospect that is easily taken for granted, hence easy to ignore as well. Having a successful business, however, involves making use of every resource available to you, and this includes the digital kind. While every business does have its own sets of unique needs, they can change with time, and adjusting accordingly will ensure your business succeeds in a very competitive market. In the 21st century, technical knowledge is king, and having the right software solution can mean the life or death of your business.
If you are interested in even more business-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.