About Computer Software
Acquiring the best computer hardware for your business is a good start. But to do what you actually need to do with this hardware, you need programs, applications, and productivity tools. You need software.
And not just the basics, like word processors, spreadsheets, and email clients. The fact is, there are numerous advanced software applications for businesses and by utilizing them, you can improve your overall effectiveness, making for more satisfied customers and employees.
As is so often the case with computer-related issues, it's a good idea to begin by clarifying your needs and budget. For example, if you can produce all the written material you need using only a word processor while outsourcing the graphic design component, you can avoid investing in unnecessary professional-grade creative software applications. Or if your company is large and handles many significant financial transactions, you'll clearly need a more robust accounting software package than a smaller home-based business.
Also, before purchasing a software package, check to make sure it's compatible with your hardware. This could be as simple as checking to see if the software is available for the Mac operating system if you use Apple computers. While many software applications are available for both the Windows and Mac platforms, not all are. Compatibility can also be related to processing power. It's important to make sure your system meets at least the minimum requirements of the software in terms of RAM, processor type, graphics capability, etc.
Here is a sampling of some of the software that is available to enhance your workflow:
Even small businesses need to know who their customers are and track their contacts just as closely as large corporations do. This is where customer relationship management (CRM) software can help. Look into SalesForce.com or Sage ACT! to get a feel for what CRM software can do for you. Then there is help desk software for managing customer support. These programs provide customer interaction accountability while building a knowledge database of recurrent issues for employee reference. Begin by investigating products such as PlanPlus Online, ZenDesk, and Freshdesk.
Managing All Those Documents
Document management software enables companies to produce, edit, store, sort, retrieve, and utilize their digital files to the best possible advantage. You can think of this software as word processing and publishing software combined with a powerful digital filing and archiving system – on steroids. Document management software can be especially useful when teams are continually collaborating on large projects. These programs make it easy to track changes and versions, and keep an eye on the various "moving parts" and stages involved. Begin by looking into products like M-Files DMS and PaperPort Professional.
And don't forgot blogging software and other Web-related editing tools for those looking to maintain or expand their Internet offerings. Products such as WordPress, Typepad, and Blogger have helped countless businesses build their brand and generate content for their customers.
Tools for Finance and HR
Accounting software to manage accounts payable and receivable, profit and loss analysis, and more empowers those charged with making sure the bills get paid and that business runs smoothly. Tax software enables timely and accurate preparation of tax returns while aiding the analysis of company budgets. And time tracking software or a payroll application can help ensure that projects are completed on time and tracked effectively. Your options are many, but you can begin investigating brands such as QuickBooks, Sage One, TurboTax, H&R Block, Ascentis, Replicon, and Kronos.
Taking Data Security Seriously
One thing is certain: viruses, malware, and other such threats to computer systems are not going away any time soon. It's more important than ever to make data security a priority, whether you work out of your home with one computer or manage a group of 100 employees. By adding the proper antivirus software, spyware, firewall protection, and data backup software, businesses can rest assured that confidential data remains secure – and yet available to the users who need it.
An appropriate suite of computer software applications is one of the most critical elements for any business that relies on computers. Antivirus software, CRM tool, data security, and much more – choosing wisely from the marketplace's offerings is a powerful way to leverage the power of technology to help keep your business focused and efficient.