The huge choice of software available to help business productivity can prove daunting when deciding what to choose. Get it wrong and you can, at best, waste time on tech that doesn’t meet your requirements or is too awkward to use. At worst, you can lose money and even business.
Time taken to choose the best software – and ensure you don’t overdo it by investing in something you don’t need yet or even ever – will pay off.
For example, if processing payments to staff and contractors, then finance software that can handle these tasks and generate the necessary paperwork is needed – but the version with huge payroll facilities and lots of add-ons may not be.
When choosing software and determining if what you currently have is appropriate, check the following:
1. Are your needs being met?
Ask yourself the question “what do I actually want to get out of this?” and focus on the offerings that will help you achieve this.
For example, with finance software, ask yourself if it’s still meeting your needs. What else do you need? Inventory management? Specific reporting? What do you wish you could do that you can’t right now with your existing program?
Bear in mind finance software – as with many other packages including old favorites such as Microsoft Office – can now be bought on subscription so you can scale to enhanced versions as and when your requirements change rather than scrapping what you have and starting again.
Be thorough here; list your requirements and focus on the software solutions that meet them.
2. Are you making use of integrated platforms?
Rather than several different packages, it’s ideal to work with different software using a similar platform if possible.
This makes it both easier to learn and use the packages and increases efficiency as they all work together and integrate. It’s one reason why a productivity suite such as Microsoft Office has always been popular.
Finance related software that offers integrated point of sale (POS) and inventory tracking is ideal as one common platform handles multiple business tasks.
Are your current packages on common platforms? If not, can future purchases be made in this way?
3. Are you wasting time and money?
Cheaper, more basic software that may have served you in your earlier stages may now be costing you.
For example, a basic package used for your initial forays into email marketing may be too restrictive now. Is there a subscriber limit you’re in danger of reaching before long? Do you find yourself unable to mount certain tasks a more fully featured package would offer?
4. Are your backup needs being met?
Virtual software and cloud storage are becoming more popular as even smaller businesses store increasing amounts of data thanks to increased data capture methods.
Maybe the time to invest in some virtual or cloud storage software has arrived?
5. Are you missing out?
You may have gone into new areas or developed existing ones and aren’t aware bespoke software can help efficiency.
For example, maybe you’ve become more active as a business on social media so could benefit from some help from specialist software. If you regularly tweet and blog, then applications such as Buffer and Hootsuite can schedule these and publish them when you specify.
Manually updating Twitter feeds and blogs can be a time sink once you’re using social media in earnest.
So ask yourself ‘is there a software package for this?’ when considering your business tasks and activities. Chances are there is and you can then explore the potential cost and savings to be had from using this.
Software for all
The beauty with the software and apps scene is that there’s likely something appropriate regardless of how large or small your business is.
Project management software might sound like the preserve of larger organizations, but even ‘one person’ project software is available and can be added to as and when demands increase.
File recovery software can really save a dire situation even if only used once or twice.