Business Building Blocks – How Do Your Software Systems Stack Up?by Josh Biggs in Business on 24th June 2019
Software systems are designed to make life easier for a business. Knowing whether your system if fit for purpose is an important question to ask. Picking a product off the shelf can present some unique challenges around functionality and implementation. If you are unsure whether your software systems stack up, then asking a few probing questions or doing a deep dive can make all the difference and point you in the right direction. These tips can help you ask a few of those more honest and self-reflective questions to help improve your business.
If you have ever wondered whether your suppliers or contractors might be taking your business for a ride, then perhaps your invoice process doesn’t stack up. Payroll software is specifically designed to remove the headache of manually tracking work completed by suppliers or contractors. These types of software systems allow you to electronically track or input the expected outcome of a job before it is completed. Then once completed, you can review the original expectation and the invoice provided. If there are any discrepancies, you can address these in real-time with your suppliers or contractors. If your processes or current system doesn’t offer these types of insights, it may be time for an upgrade.
One of the fundamental building blocks of any business is the customer interaction. Tracking, monitoring and maintaining those interactions is critical to the success of any business. A customer relationship management system is the means by which a good business tracks this two-way exchange. A good CRM software offers different levels of functionality, a good way to baseline your CRM is to identify if it meets all of the needs of your business. A basic CRM will allow you to capture customer details and your interactions with those customers. A great CRM however, will allow you to map future interactions, remind you to contact and establish prospective profiles for customers. These types of systems allow a business to manage their customers through the sales funnel at all stages, instead of just the buying stage. The question to ask is at what level your CRM assists your business.
As a sales engine, there is arguably no more important software system than your marketing platform. This is the system that manages and launches all key communications to customers. Whether it is an upcoming sale or new product launch, the marketing platform is usually the system that feeds the sales funnel. The difference between the good and the ordinary, however, is the capacity of this system to learn and automate. Great marketing automation systems interact with and learn from your customers’ interactions. For example, if a customer shows a low threshold to opening emails but always responds to SMS marketing, then your system should learn and change that customers preferences. This type of machine learning can change the conversion your business sees from its direct marketing. Gone are the days of blasting all clients with the same message. If your business is subscribing to that method, perhaps this is one system that doesn’t stack up.
As a business, it is clear what getting inventory management wrong can do. From restricting liquidity to adding additional liability, inventory management is a critical process for any business. A good sense check to do on your system is whether it has the capability to do future trend analysis. Whether your business experiences seasonal demand or just general demand fluctuations, your inventory management system should be keeping a close eye on this. Trend analysis can make a huge difference to any business, meaning you only ever hold the inventory the market has shown it needs.
Software systems can change the way a business operates. Great software systems, however, can change the way a market operates. Instead of settling for the mediocre, do a deep dive and use these tips to see whether your software systems stack up.