What makes your business successful? We bet some of you could give TED talks sharing your vast experience and giving valuable advice. Others are taking their first steps on the race. But you know who really wins? Those, who can’t help searching and digging. These people are open to new ideas, searching for how to make their businesses run better. They analyze the market, their workflows. They assess where they can improve - and they act.
Below we suggest various IT products as solutions for common business problems. So, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. You may be surprised by how many problems can be overcome by using digital technology and there are even several IT solutions for each case.
The main difficulties faced by companies could be divided into two kinds: external and internal.
External business problems
Among the external business issues are globalization, the wrong tools and tough competition.
One of the characteristics of globalization is the penetration of business on a new global level, when company goes outside the local market. On one hand, globalization increases your prospects and opportunities with more potential clients, yet on the other hand a larger market means more competition. In the international market, your company must be healthy and efficient in order to take or keep the lead. Does your business seem stuck in the narrow market? Get the cure for it by entering the worldwide market.
- Custom software. To achieve a global presence any business must overcome geographical, financial and political barriers. So this is where custom software shines. The customization of software allows your company to become cross-cultural, targeting new audience. In this process, an understanding of foreign cultures allows a business to enter new markets with ready-made products and services, but also to create new products and services, adjusted to the needs of new target audience.
- Use data analysis software to gather the needed information and provide quality analysis for better understanding the international markets and cultures, as well as the customer preferences.
- Innovation enable you stand out among your competitors.
The wrong tools
Among the drawbacks that lead to loss is the wrong choice of technology. Time is money, so don’t hesitate to provide your team with the right tools for effective work.
- Website & Landing pages. A presence on the Internet is vital. According to the Stanford research, 75% of internet users assess the credibility of the company only by the way its website looks. So, it is worth investing time and resources in your website, social networks and other online profiles, such as Google and Yelp, where clients can find you. Hype your brand and win more clients with these IT business solutions.
- Crowdsourcing. Businesses have broader opportunities for recruiting professionals, admittance cheap labor and information, attracting investors and improving business ideas all because of crowdsourcing. One of the examples of effective use of crowdsourcing in business is the Threadless company in Chicago. Internet users offer their own designs for print on T-shirts. And the company produces T-shirts with those design samples that gain more votes from internet users. Judge for yourself, here crowdsourcing performs several functions at once - it helps to generate ideas and find out what the potential customers are interested in.
- Customer relationship management system (CRM) is a powerful tool that enables monitoring, planning and analysis at work with clients and employees. According to the Cloudswave, with CRM in place an average purchase value can improve by 40% and the conversion rates - by 300%. Among other properties of CRM is the automation of individual work points. And to answer your possible question about the payoff, according to Baseline, the Return on Investment on CRM is about $5 to every $1 invested.
- Time tracking software is a remarkable tool for keeping track of how much time is spent on specific tasks. If you use this business IT solution wisely, you can achieve great results in accountability, improved processes and productivity. Tracking software can also be a part of more complicated systems like CRM, ERP, BAP, which in its turn, at times increases the quality of performed tasks and operations. Updated tools and integrated IT solutions within your business inevitably bring fruit. Of course, one should not forget that replacement of old equipment with new and correct technologies also improves productivity.
Generally, this business problem is perhaps the greatest. And the resolution of all other difficulties that this article touches affects the place of a business among competitors, in one way or another. In order not to just keep up with competitors, but also to be a few steps ahead, there are several business IT solutions. Maintain your position in the market and stay ahead of your competitors.
- The brand new IT solutions provide uniqueness on the market. According to Mobile eCommerce Stats in 2018, about 100 million U.S. consumers own tablets and 230 million consumers own smartphones. An interesting fact is that during last 6 months 79% of smartphone users made an online purchase via their smartphone. Probably, you are one of them. Did you know that 80% of buyers used a cell phone inside of a physical shop in order to compare prices, check product reviews or find location of alternative stores? Looking at these figures, we see how essential is for business to be available to clients online. But to prosper, you could do more - apply what others do not have. Develop a new app, implement ecommerce software solutions that provide new opportunities, making you accessible and open to customers. Be unique, find your niche, and win the market.
- Integration of such IT solutions as Enterprise resource planning (ERP) and Business process automation (BPA) systems allows your business to gain a competitive advantage in controlling and establishing processes, and to reduce costs. BPA software involves integrating software tools that automate routine business tasks. ERP IT solutions enforce the automation of working tasks and processes, and allow companies to store, control and interpret data from the workflow of different departments. Due to a single platform that tracks company's workflow, you can find out where you’re losing money or wasting resources during normal operations. It will help you to figure out where changes should be made to help business run more efficiently.
- Implement SaaS platforms to promote a product and achieve the target audience. The SaaS (Software as a Service) platform features give customers direct access to your goods and services, collects a database of customers who have registered. As a result, you will be able to determine the features of the most relevant services and get a good idea of target audience and its needs. Due to the SaaS platform, you can take your business to a new level, attracting customers and controlling their preferences.
- CRM systems. Here we are again! We know we are being repetitive, but just can't stop talking about this multitasker. You will gain a competitive edge when you better organize your business processes and resources through CRM systems. For this, the best suited business IT solutions tools are:
- time tracking software
- digital dictation to optimize workflows
- project and task management tools
- digital registration system
- e-mail management process
Among other benefits, CRM system enhances customer service and enables the fulfillment of Customer Experience analysis. Due to using CRM, 74% of businesses notify better customer relationships, stated in Software Advice report. And according to the Temkin Group report, 73% of organizations that collect Customer Experience perform better financially than their competitors.
Internal business problems
Among the main internal problems are information overload, non-automated business processes, poor performance of the assigned tasks, financial management and rising costs of the company, a large document flow and reporting.
With company growth, the amount of information is increasing, and the database is getting more and more unorganized. In addition, some information is not processed and does not affect decision-making. Sounds bad, right?
- Use data management IT solutions to sort, save, and search business documents easier. For this goal you could use off-the-shelf software or order a system specifically developed for you by an IT solutions firm.
- Task management software — a very handy IT management tool which simplifies the workflow. Such business IT solutions may include to-do lists, task and project management settings, task control, time tracking, etc. These functions are provided by CRM systems.
Non-automated business processes
Modern technology can automate workflow to such an extent that human intervention is not required. But take into account the fact that not every business process is suited for automation. Companies themselves determine which processes are suitable for automation, and which processes are best handled by humans. Business Process Automation (BPA) is a technology to automate actions or services that perform a specific function or workflow. It’s not about a particular single process. Business processes can be defined for many sections of a company, including sales, management, supply chains, operations, human resources, and information technology. According to Invespcro, four of five users increased their leads by implementation marketing automation software and approximately same number of them (77%) observed an enlargement in conversions; 74% of respondents admitted that the technology’s capacity to save them time was its biggest benefit. Some businesses are still on their way to marketing automation. Invespcro states, that 27% of firms yet define themselves “new” to marketing automation whereas 86% of marketers consider “ease of use” to be the most significant factor when evaluating automation tools.
The automation of business processes can be realized through managed IT solutions such as BPA, ERP and CRM systems. Business process automation IT solutions are developed for specific goals.
- In order to simplify operations control you need business process management software. When one task is done, the next employee within the workflow receives an automatic notification of a new task. According to Pardot, “a quarter of all B2B Fortune 500 companies are already using marketing automation, along with 76% of the world’s largest SaaS companies”.
- Task management software is essential for jack-of-all-trades workers. Such software sorts and stores all the data, to-dos, emails, etc. But task management IT solutions in conjunction with ERP and BPA will produce better results.
- Customer support software helps automate most of the responses to the emails and messages from the customers. It’s more than essential especially if your business gets thousands of emails every week or even every day.
- Custom ERP is often the result of a BPA implementation. At the heart of ERP-strategy is the use of a single transaction system for the majority of operations and business processes of the organization. All operations are consolidated into a single database for further processing and real-time balanced plans. According to Panorama 2018 ERP report, ERP software is being successfully used at the following industries: manufacturing; retail and distribution; finance, insurance and realty; information technology, professional services, non-profit, education, healthcare, construction, telecommunications and other industries.
The ERP’s modular design allows organizations to implement ERP-systems in stages, successively putting into operation one or more functional modules and choosing only those that are relevant to the enterprise. In addition, the modularity of ERP-systems allows companies to build IT solutions based on several ERP-systems, choosing from the best-of-breed modules. The breakdown by modules and their grouping is different, but most of the main suppliers are allocated by three groups of modules: finance, personnel, operations.
Thus, the implementing of IT business solutions that provide processes automation make business much more competitive because it results in:
- simplified and improved business processes,
- minimized human error,
- reduced costs and investments,
- enforced a smooth workflow.
In other words, the more your organization is automated, the more your staff will be able to focus on meaningful work. These facts confirm Panorama 2018 ERP report, stating that 48% of respondents recognized business benefits after six months of launching of ERP software. And great news is that automation enforces the higher productivity of company, which is leading to higher profits.
Poor performance of the assigned tasks
Any business on different levels faces a number of challenges and difficulties. Unorganized database, address book update, event scheduling, customer relationship, task lists, document automation, data management - all this also need your attention and control. And the quality task performance is a must have for a prosperous business. Little things make big things happen, right? And some IT business solutions are designed for tasks to be done with high quality.
CRM IT solutions are created to configure all this and even more. At the above we yet talked about the functions of CRM software, such as task management and time tracking tools. So, in the broader sense, CRM business IT solutions:
- store all the business's data organized on a single platform,
- automatically accumulate the list of contacts,
- schedule events,
- automate the informing employees and clients about appointments,
- set reminders for the deadlines and tasks you need to undertake,
- back up data of your company, enabling access at any time.
In addition, CRM IT solutions make it possible to:
- improve sales performance through control over sales processes,
- improve consumer experience by combining all communication channels,
- achieve target indicators of lead conversion by increasing the effectiveness of marketing campaigns,
- increase customer loyalty through a first-class customer service,
- get a clear picture of the work of all company’s departments through the automation of processes and data analysis.
Financial management and rising costs of the company
In the work of a company, financial management is needed as much as task management and process optimization. The main problem is the lack of a system for controlling tasks and their productivity. Accordingly, it is difficult to find out how many people are needed for certain actions. Moreover, if clear patterns are not worked out (they are also in CRM IT solutions), with the increase of the work scope, time costs increase disproportionately.
After all, every company has its own internal budget. And quite often it happens that without a unified system of control and costs coherence, different departments may use money on same goals, thus, the business loses extra funds. So, companies are looking for every opportunity to cut costs.
ERP IT solutions are the best to manage this issues. The central components of the ERP-system, many practitioners consider the financial modules and, foremost, the general ledger. Formation of financial statements by tools of the ERP-system is considered as a necessary condition for positive results of due diligence. Among the financial modules of ERP there are many functional blocks, which include:
- Accounting: general ledger, accounts receivable (debtors), accounts payable (creditors), consolidation
- Treasury: liquidity management, cash flow management (including bank accounts and cash), interaction with banks, debt management and borrowing
- Financial management: asset management, investment management, financial control and risk management
- Accounting and management: cost and revenue accounting by location, by product, by project, costing.
Also, some financial ERP-systems modules enable financial budgeting and a management of key performance indicators. Using the ERP system allows you to use one integrated IT solution instead of several separated. A single system can manage processing and logistics, distribution and inventory, delivery and billing, accounting, tax accounting and loyalty program.
Implemented in conjunction with a CRM system and a quality control system, ERP systems are aimed at maximizing the needs of companies in business management tools. In the end, talking about financial management and rising costs of a company, ERP systems are the greatest IT solutions to this issue.
Large document flow and reporting
Do you agree with a fact the reality is that there is an extremely large document flow and reporting at any company's workflow? These include transaction documents, employee and customer data, statistical and analytical data, accounting and marketing reports, business process information and monitoring, and much more. Accumulation and the unorganized process of structuring this information is causing many difficulties, inaccuracies, and loss of data and time. And time is money, right?
- Content management systems - the organization of the combined process of creating, editing and managing the content. Due to this, the right information will be delivered at the right time. For example, the access of CRM users to the client base will make it possible to update customer information. In addition, the partners’s involvement in editing and supplementing project documentation in CRM will increase the accuracy and efficiency of the transaction.
- The business IT solutions of data management effectively enforce the sorting, saving and easy searching of company’s documents and reports.
- ERP systems - their main feature is a common database that supports several functions used by different departments. In practice, it means that employees in different departments, such as marketing department and accounting, can use the same information when performing tasks. This reduces errors caused by working with incorrect data, which further reduces costs.
As you can see, digital technology already has great solutions for businesses. They allow not only to simplify certain business processes, but also significantly improve the company's productivity and competitiveness by reducing costs, automating multi-tasking projects and process automation, analyzing and structuring data etc. The run of right tools will help you accomplish business goals successfully.
But there is a possibility for your company to develop a custom software solution which will solve the specific issues of your business. Company needs will help to define the needed features of the future IT solution. Tomorrow your business can be more effective. And MassMedia Group is ready to help you with it today!
Now you are armed with IT solutions for the difficulties your company face. Well, hone your business and stay competitive!