A smart business software, is much more than a simple mini-ERP. Forget about planning—it doesn’t do much of that—and forget about resource, too much –ish about it. But remember the enterprise part. This is ERP’s true ambition. It attempts to integrate your invoicing, warehousing, suppliers, customers and do the banking, all at once. A smart solution will even have a more powerful integration and close the circle with a system to reel in the customers with a mighty CRM, help your team do it along the way with Team and Project Management, and then the part that matters the most, provide love and care to your screaming customers. Well, after you’ve invited these systems in, we hope they won’t be screaming anymore.
Look at a customer order. Typically a customer takes the role of ping-ponging across many baskets, on a paper-based journey around your company, often keyed and copied digitally a million times before reaching its final destination.
With all the lounging in baskets, your orders get delayed, get lost or get typed in the wrong way, starting the process all over again. In the meantime, no one knows what the status of the order is, and if you have been…most importantly, paid! This is because there is no way for the finance department, to get into the warehouse’s computer system to see whether the item has been shipped. “You’ll have to call the warehouse” is the familiar refrain heard by frustrated customers.
Stand-alone? Or All-in-one?
Business software vanquishes the system of standalone systems working independently with no integration and with no knowledge of what is happening in each corner. Your invoicing system knows what is in your warehouse and what can be invoiced.
Your CRM system knows when the customer called you or when he read your proposal. He may even reply through the system and give you a heads up on the probability of closing the deal (they’ll have to love the price for that, so play nice).
Your team will stop pulling their hair out to know who is assigned to which task, and what their goal is. And if you’re managing the team, you’ll know when and where they’re slacking off. Let’s admit it, they’re human, let them breath.
While we’re all enjoying the weekend, your customer decides to call you because some people just don’t have anything to do, and they’re screaming. Well that’s the part that you forgot to cover. But with a single system managing your entire business process, you’ll have an integrated system that provides service to the buyer of your lovely product, and gives you updates in real-time.
Make your life easier
You see the possibility to make your life easier does exist but…people don’t like to change, and these apps ask them to change how they do their jobs. That is why the value of business apps is so hard to pin down. The software is less important than the changes companies make in the ways they do business. If you use it to improve the ways your people take orders, charge goods, ship them, get customer feedback, improve your process, provide better service, you will see value from the software. If you just install the software and make no change to how people do their jobs, the queen will still be using the same crown and the guard will change on the hour—indeed, the new software could slow you down by simply replacing the old software that everyone knew with new software that no one does. You have to be the change you want to see happen.
Don’t trust us, trust the numbers
According to the results of a 2007 Aberdeen Group survey of more than 1,680 companies, those that paid close attention to return on investment (ROI) on the use of a business software “reaped far more rewards” than those companies that don’t. The companies that Aberdeen Group identified as “best performing” were able to produce, 93 percent more improvement with their systems across a variety of metrics such as cost reductions, schedule performance, headcount reduction or redeployment, and quality improvements, states the Aberdeen Group survey results.
So, business owners and entrepreneurs need to listen up. The single most important reason you need to use those silly apps – to get return on your investment!