Some of the most common computer applications used by businesses are those for accounting, office productivity, email clients and business communication software. Today, most of the operational procedures of businesses can be enhanced through desktop or web-based applications that can automate large portions of your business communication and account keeping.
What are the advantages of business software?
The type of business software that will be of utmost benefit to your business will facilitate an increase in productivity, help your business save time or money and increase the efficacy of your staff or business processes.
Desktop programs vs web-based applications?
The rise in popularity of the web and mobile devices has opened a new frontier for mobile computing. Consequently, business software application developers have also adopted mobile computing in view of expanding their services to mobile users.
Desktop applications do have more features than their web-based counterparts. However, the advantage of the web-based software is that the cost of acquisition is relatively low (and sometimes free). Moreover, the application can be accessed from any web-enabled devices with an internet connection – and from anywhere.
Finance and accounting software are indispensable for most businesses because they make accounting operation seamless by automating important tasks such as billing, invoicing and payroll management. Most accounting applications have inbuilt modules that compute sales, costs, and profits. It also analyzes these figures and highlights pertinent business trends through reports and layman-friendly visual graphs.
Office Productivity Software
Most businesses use Microsoft Office which is the most popular office productivity suite. It contains applications such as MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint among a host of others.
Besides the product of the Silicon Valley software giant; there are other efficient office applications that are free to use such as OpenOffice.org or StarOffice from Sun Microsystems. These applications are compatible with Microsoft Office Suite applications.
Communication & Collaboration Software
These tools allow for seamless communication within an enterprise. It creates avenues whereby staff can send messages, relevant data, and files securely within the enterprise platform. Some even allow for voice communication.
These types of applications can be used for teleconferencing, wikis, electronic fax, voice mails, web publishing, online collaboration within team members through document sharing, instant messaging, group chat and video conferencing.
Groupware & Collaboration Software
Collaboration applications, as well as groupware, have evolved to a new group of cloud-based application often regarded as collaboration management tools that serve as a portal where group activities are managed.
Although the functions of collaboration software are useful to businesses of all sizes; the features are actually geared towards medium and large enterprise.
Collaboration Management Applications have a lot of features that are focused on enhancing business processes such as project management system, shared calendars, knowledge base, social network system, online spreadsheets and an extranet that functions to collate, share and manage project data.
What about SMEs?
The more robust tools that are preferred by bigger enterprise include CRM which creates a database of customer data and compute trends in buying habits. Sales force automation is another business tool preferred by larger businesses because it helps in the management of sales teams as well as business leads.
Other application options for businesses include software for human resources management, business intelligence tools, database management software, enterprise resource planning and supply chain/inventory management applications.
These applications are perfect for some types of businesses and may not be of great use to SMEs. A business should analyze its internal processes wisely and choose an application that bests suits its operations.