Business Software – Adding Efficiency To Business

Business software generally means software programs that can be used by business and companies to carry out business activities, or to increase or measure their business productivity. Business software solution is tailor made software for specific business purposes such as railway and airline ticketing system, billing and inventory control system for department stores etc. Business software can do away with any type of business activity such as cash transactions, receipts, issues, returns, rejections, interests, and depreciation, which entail final accounts, profit and loss accounts, balance-sheet etc.

A computer machine and business software are interdependent, with computer technology becoming more advanced with each new software addition. Nowadays even a tiny business entity tends to use small business software for its easy to handle and ready to use features. Many of the business software are plug and play type for which no special computer knowledge is essential. However, for complex calculations, tedious programming and special technical training, business software with learning tools is exceptionally helpful. IT companies on the other hand sometimes use business software for training purposes, enabling modern technologies like medical transcription.

The business software market is a billion dollar industry today and any one with a sound knowledge of the system can make his or her own earnings very easily. Business software has acquired an important position in the economy of developed and developing countries. Software developing countries like India are doing good business by exporting business software to developed countries. The sprawling BPO sector is providing business software solution to many MNCs and domestic companies.

Small business software markets throughout the globe and has captured a substantial part of the software market in recent times. Small business software may include toy and game software, audio-visual software, accounting software etc. Electronic spreadsheet software, a business software solution, has engaged itself successfully in the vast use of microcomputers.

There are standard softwares available for business such as Microsoft Excel, Word, Access, and Outlook etc., which cater to the everyday needs of most businesses. However custom business softwares have many advantages over standard business software. The custom business software can customize the functions and features in a manner required by the customer, be they automatic generation of letters, automatic sending of emails, deadline reminders, printing of receipts and bills, tracking of customers and orders. Many business softwares use operational research methods and algorithms for optimum utilization of resources, maximizing profits and minimizing costs. Business software has the potential to maximize the efficiency of businesses, systematize the way business is done and keep the business under control.

The Importance of Small Business Software

We’re moving further and further into a world where computers, IT systems and the Internet are becoming essential for many of our everyday tasks. Small businesses are not exempt from this. These days, every business should have a web presence and should be striving towards improving their ranking on Google and maximising exposure through social media. And it doesn’t end there. There is also a wide variety of business software available that is becoming increasingly necessary in order to ensure your business doesn’t get left behind. In this article I’ll look at some of the software that is essential to ensure your business stays up to speed.

1. Security software

For all the benefits computers and the Internet have brought us, there’s no escaping the fact that unscrupulous types around the world have found ways to use the technology for their own gain and at the expense of others. As well as the risk of viruses, worms, spyware and adware which can be downloaded by employees, affecting system performance and decreasing efficiency, businesses also face much greater risks. An unprotected system could, for example, be exposed to hackers who can find employee tax and contact information, passwords to private company documents and more. Small businesses are often targeted as would-be attackers expect security software to be less sophisticated or even non-existent. Invest in recognised Internet security software for businesses and enjoy peace of mind.

2. Backup and recovery software

Anyone who has somehow lost a document, photo, mp3 or video online knows how annoying it can be. Now imagine losing all of your business-related files and folders in one fell swoop — I’m sure I don’t need to explain the devastation. These days, it’s essential to perform regular backups of your hard drives, and there’s plenty of software available on the market that can automate the process to save time. Whether it’s through a malicious software attack, disaster such as fire or flood or simple human error, files can be easily lost, and purchasing backup and recovery software is a sure-fire way to eliminate the headaches.

3. System optimisation software

These days, even small businesses may require several computers in order to operate effectively. Depending on what kind of business you’re running, it may even be necessary for every staff member to have a computer of their own. That’s a lot of technology and a lot that can go wrong. If you don’t have an IT department of your own to call on, the next best option is to install system optimisation software on your network and on each computer. These programs can perform regular checks to ensure everything is running as smoothly as possible and to help you take steps to eliminate any problems.

4. ERP software

ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. ERP software seeks to automate a range of often tedious business tasks such as quoting, collating data, producing reports and more. Even small businesses are often faced with a heap of repetitive tasks which require time. As businesses expand, these tasks tend to become more and more draining and can often stand in the way of real growth. By automating these tasks, you’re increasing efficiency and reducing operating costs. What’s more, ERP software gives staff easy access to simply presented data that can help with presentations and decision making.

Business Software: Rent or Buy?

The internet is a vital part of mainstream life and has crossed over into both our personal and professional lives. Efficiency of communication, news, and means of business transactions have increased due to the internet. Companies have slowly but surely been turning to Cloud Computing and are faced with a difficult choice of whether to rent a SaaS software or to purchase business software and build it on-premise. In some ways, the benefits and drawbacks of purchasing or renting software closely resembles that of purchasing or renting a house. Ultimately, it is for the business owner to decide how the software can be strategically deployed in order to be beneficial.

Purchase
Let us first look at the prerequisites and responsibilities of purchasing a house. First, a lump sum of cash is required to make a down payment. Afterward, you may hire a contractor to make home improvements and remodel your house to fit your lifestyle. Upon moving into your new home, you will be faced with expenses such as home owner’s insurances, landscaping services, community improvement costs, and property tax. You will also be responsible for the well-being of all your home appliances, which include water heater, plumbing, air conditioning, and so on. In short, you will be responsible for everything within the boundaries of your property.

Let us now compare these prerequisites and responsibilities with those of buying business software. Similarly, you will need a lump sum of cash to purchase the software and hardware upfront. You will then need to hire a consultant to set up your software network, train your staff, implement the software, and make the necessary software customizations to fit your company’s workflow. Upon implementation, you will be faced with ongoing costs such as retaining IT staff and maintaining the well-being of your software and hardware purchases. Just as if you purchased a house, you and your IT staff will be responsible for every detail that comes with operating a business software system. However, unlike a house purchase, your IT equipments will only depreciate.

Rent
Let’s imagine that you’re renting a house from a decent neighborhood. Instead of a costly down payment, you will only make monthly payments for rent. Instead of investing into home improvements as you would when buying a house, you can negotiate home improvements for a longer lease. Also, you will not be responsible for insurance costs, property tax, home appliances, and other fixed goods on the rental property. In short, the landlord has major responsibilities for the property, whereas you will only be paying for rent and utilities.

Similarly, if you rent software, you do not need an initial investment as you will be paying only for the continued use of the software. Since the software vendor is responsible for delivering the software to you, the software vendor will continue to maintain, upgrade, and update the software and the equipment that help deliver the software to you. Thus, the software vendor has major responsibilities for the software’s upkeep and its delivery mechanism, whereas you will enjoy the use of the software at a monthly or annual cost.

To Rent or To Purchase?
Both SaaS and on-premise software systems have their benefits and drawbacks. SaaS is the less costly alternative, but is also less customizable when compared to its on-premise alternative. Most SaaS solutions can meet the demands of small businesses, but unfortunately they fall short of the customization demands of larger enterprises. This explains why small businesses are jumping to adopt SaaS solutions while their larger counterparts are slow to adopt the same solutions.

On-premise software systems are more costly but they grant you absolute control over all your data. Some SaaS vendors may restrict data exportation, restrict data access, and hold their clients’ data hostage so the client is at the mercy of the vendor. A SaaS vendor can also increase rates after a preliminary period.

An on-premise system can help you avoid unscrupulous SaaS vendors, though SaaS systems are usually more secure than on-premise systems. Security is a core component for a SaaS, therefore it is only natural for a SaaS vendor to invest more in security than businesses that use an on-premise system. (Learn how to evaluate SaaS security)

Overall, the choice of whether to buy or to rent software depends on the respective benefits. If your company is primarily interested in profit, SaaS may be the more attractive choice, as it has lower short-term and long-term costs. By choosing SaaS, on the other hand, you can spend your extra cash on improving other areas of your company instead of building and maintaining an IT infrastructure.