business management software

Get the Most out of Your Business Software

Investing in the right software for your business can be vital to its future success. Not only does your software have to be right for you today, in terms of its functionality and features, it also has to be work for you years from now, as your business grows and expands. With that in mind, here are three key points to keep in mind for getting the most out of your business software.

Look for the Right Fit

One of the most important factors to keep in mind is how software can be seamlessly integrated into the core operations of your business. For example, if your software needs to be used by your warehouse and finance teams, you’ll want software that has features and functionality for both.

Pricing also plays a key role here, too. Pricing can range from a “plain vanilla” use case to a huge, enterprise-class use case. Thus, you need to think in terms of where your business is right now, and how much power and functionality you really need. The key focus should be on solutions that can be adopted quickly and easily by users. There may not be a “perfect fit,” but there is going to be a solution that provides at least 80 percent of what you are looking for in a software solution.

Calculate the ROI

Return on investment, or ROI, is a big buzzword in the business world, and for good reason. At a glance, you can tell whether you are gaining or losing on your investment. And an investment in software is no different—you need to be able to measure whether you are getting everything you can out of the solution.

Often, by choosing a solution that will help migrate data, you can lower implementation costs and boost the overall ROI of the software solution. You can think of this in terms of savings—both time and cost savings. If software is easy to set up and use, that is going to save you and your team a lot of headaches.

Start exploring some of the software’s add-on features. For example, you may not need certain features when your business intelligence team only consists of two individuals. However, as your team gets bigger and bigger, you may need some of the more advanced analytics-related functionality that’s available in the software.

Think Ahead to the Future

Over time, your business is going to grow, evolve and change. And so you will need a software solution that will also grow and evolve with you. Within the business world, this is often referred to as being “scalable.” The more scalable a solution is, the more it can grow from 10 employees to 100 employees. And it means that your data and information will be available when and where you need it.

Essentials of Finding the Right Business Management Software

There are four key factors to keep in mind when choosing which business management software solution is right for your business. In most cases, it’s not just the case of picking the lowest price solution or going with a vendor with the best name recognition.

Instead, you should be thinking of which accounting software can transform your company into a well-run and profitable business by providing the best tools and interface for keeping track of expenses, revenues, invoices and data. With that in mind, here are four factors to consider before committing to a business management software solution.

Features

The problem with low-cost (or free) solutions is that they are not designed to grow along with your business. If your company is experiencing a wave of growth, you may need to upgrade to a more powerful offering, so you want to make sure that your business management software solution is robust enough for your needs and your growing customer base. A great accounting software system will integrate all your accounting, reporting, resourcing, purchasing and scheduled tasks into one reliable solution.

Technical Support

Even if you have the most talented and proactive employees, there will always be a moment when even they will need to call up technical support to help them through a difficult issue. You want to make sure that there’s someone on the other end of the line, when you need them, for those types of emergencies.

At the very least, you should ensure that there is sufficient support during the installation process. Typically, most software vendors will offer support packages so it’s best to take advantage of this.

Security

You want to be able to have the full ability to limit which employees have access to your company’s data. As a result, a system with security features and user restrictions is a must-have for any business management solution. Moreover, keep in mind that security is not a one-time event, especially now that most software vendors have so much data stored in the “cloud.” Security needs to be part of a continuous effort to keep your company safe from malware and viruses, as well as the prying eyes of a competitor or other outsiders (e.g., hackers).

Integration

If you’re like the majority of small business owners, you may have multiple software installed on your computers. The key, then, is for all of that software to be able to talk to each other. The obvious answer for many small business owners is just to bundle all the software together. With Spire, all modules are fully integrated into one solution, from accounting, purchasing, inventory and customer/vendor management.

Are You Taking Full Advantage of Your Business Software?

One of the most important concepts in the business world is return on investment (ROI), and that concept can be applied to business software as well. In short, there are costs and benefits to any business software package, and it’s up to the organization to prove that the benefits far outweigh the negatives over the long term.

ROI is one simple number that expresses just how much of a boost you are getting from your new business software. Some of these results may be tangible,such as increased sales, and some of them may be intangible—such as increased productivity or improved worker satisfaction. So how do you go about taking full advantage of your business software and maximizing ROI?

Make Sure You Are Updating Old Processes in Addition to Old Software

There’s one big problem with old legacy software that doesn’t work—it also leads to a lot of convoluted workarounds that no longer make sense. These workaround have often become so ingrained in how we do business that employees will cling to them, even when there’s a new business software that has been implemented. The easiest cure for this problem is a comprehensive training program that teaches employees how to use the software properly, and that also helps to educate them how it can make their lives easier.

Make Sure Employees are Using the Software Efficiently

There’s something about physical paper that makes employees feel more comfortable than trusting a digital stream of 1’s and 0’s on the computer screen. But that leads to a lot of bad habits, like using printed reports and handwritten notes in lieu of software. Software can run optimally when all the necessary information is available. In addition, make sure that employees are entering information to the system as efficiently as possible. Sometimes, the manual keying in of data may not be required.

Make Sure All Software is Fully Integrated

Within any organization, it’s common to think of silos—where data may languish without being shared throughout the organization. That’s one problem that modern business software is meant to address. And that’s also one reason why Spire offers a fully integrated set of features—everything from accounting to inventory management.

Whenever possible, try to avoid using external, non-integrated solutions. Often, your new business management software has a lot of functionality that just hasn’t been tapped yet. The goal is seamless integration.

The best advice, when it comes to maximizing the value of your new business management software, is to figure out all the triggers and pain points for the organization. That’s where you’ll want to focus as you search for a new business software solution. And then, two to three months after you go live, you can follow up again. The key is to schedule regular check-ups and follow-ups so that the software is always performing at its peak capabilities. When that happens, you’ll have found out a way to maximize your software’s ROI, and that’s a rewarding win that you can share with all the stakeholders of the organization!

Why Employees Complain About Implementing New Business Management Software

For many employees in an organization, the decision by upper management to implement new business management software often comes with trepidation. Instead of seeing this move as a positive signal that the organization is experiencing a new wave of growth, they see it as a rude awakening from a status quo in which everything seemed to run smoothly enough.

Management needs to remind employees that, within any organization, there are ways of doing things that can be improved using technology. By doing that, they can address three common complaints that employees make about implementing new business management software.

It Doesn’t Fit into Their Schedules

Make no mistake about it—it does take some training and practice in order to be able to harness the true power of new business management software. There’s time needed to train employees, and there’s time needed to practice using the new software in a real-time environment. All that time takes away from what employees typically do throughout the way. That leads to longer hours. No wonder many of them say that it doesn’t fit into their schedules. What they don’t recognize, though, is that a few hours learning the software in the beginning can lead to many, many hours saved later.

It’s Too Hard to Figure out and Use

Yes, business management software comes with a bit of a reputation. Unlike other software, which may only tackle a single department or business unit of an organization, business management software is so powerful for the very reason that it attempts to unite and streamline the entire organization.

In many ways, there is a lot of inertia that needs to be overcome. As a result, top management should attempt to sell any business management software implementation as a competitive measure that will streamline the organization, get rid of unnecessary paperwork and save employees from a lot of time-consuming manual processes.

It Takes Too Long to See Results

There are no quick fixes when it comes to business management software. Not only does the implementation often take quite a bit of time, there is also a lag before real results can be seen. In some cases, it may take a quarter or longer before results start to filter down to the bottom line of the organization. Until it’s possible to see a spike in sales or a real boost in productivity, employees may be skeptical. In some cases, they may feel overwhelmed and actually think that the software is leading to a loss of productivity.

The big takeaway lesson here is that any business management software implementation can lead to really improved business results for an organization. Employees should view it as a difficult but worthwhile process that deserves to be embraced for what it means for the future of the organization.

Once the business management software implementation finally goes “live,” they will be surprised at how much easier everything becomes. There will be fewer routine tasks, less paperwork, and fewer manual workarounds. Everything will work as the heads of the company always hoped it would—and that’s good news for all employees.

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Start Planning Your Business Software Upgrade Now

Upgrading your company’s business software doesn’t have to be a stressful, last-minute scramble. By taking a few steps earlier in the year, you can make the process of upgrading your software as seamless and worry-free as possible.

The first step in planning your business software upgrade is to create an action plan. This may sound obvious, but the fact is that most businesses don’t have any type of written action plan for how to proceed with the upgrade. They typically wait until the last minute and then frantically attempt an upgrade at the exact moment when both suppliers and vendors are on vacation and when support staff are already at maximum capacity, trying to answer customer’s technical questions about managing year-end processes.

The fact is that upgrading your business management software takes a lot of time in planning, research, training and transferring data. That means you should be creating an action plan at least several months ahead of time. Such an action plan should outline who will participate in the upgrade process as well as what will be the time frame for each person’s role in the upgrade. And don’t forget — any software upgrade may also require a hardware upgrade as well as serious thinking about how to import and export data. However, if you’re currently using BusinessVision, switching to Spire is quite easy as their built-in import tool will allow you to convert all of your BV data.

The second step in planning your business software upgrade is to start researching vendors as soon as possible. There are a number of software vendors, so you have plenty of options when making a choice. Before committing your business to a specific vendor, you should do live demos of every system you are considering, just so that you and the vendor are on the same page about functionality and capabilities. If possible, you should make your finance team also part of this process, since it is they who will be responsible for making all the software and hardware work well together.

The third and final step is to make sure that you sign up employees for training. No matter how intuitive and easy-to-use a business software package claims to be, the fact is that hands-on training for employees always makes the transition as seamless as possible, especially if you have been using your current system for a relatively long time. Getting hands-on training well before the transition really helps employees feel comfortable with the system and gives them the confidence they need to begin using the system. You can also build momentum for the new software internally if everyone is onboard at the start.

Don’t forget, the end of the year is also the time of the year when other companies are also thinking about upgrading their business software. Why not get a jump on the competition and make the process of upgrading your company’s business software as seamless and worry-free as possible? By following the simple three-step plan above, you can start the planning process early and make sure that your company’s embrace of a new business software upgrade goes as smoothly as possible.

How to Track Your Inventory

Entering a customer order can be a cumbersome task when using outdated software. It’s even worse if your current software is unable to track inventory correctly and you unknowingly sell out-of-stock products. This leads to customer dissatisfaction and can hurt your business.

Consistent inventory mishaps lead to a shrinking customer base. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way if you’re using the proper inventory management software.

Before you decide to look for a new inventory management solution, consider the following:

Business Challenges

Inefficient Processes

There is a problem if your employees spend a good deal of time to find items in your warehouse. Using the right inventory management software will help improve efficiency when entering orders, receiving inventory and shipping your products to customers.

As well, inventory management software should be easy to learn, enabling several employees to be trained simultaneously. A highly trained workforce saves you time and money down the road and leads to fewer customer support calls.

Cost Control

Despite the upfront costs, an inventory management software can save you a significant amount of money both in the short and long-term. Business consultants can assist you in determining your return on investment (ROI) and you may be amazed by how quickly this investment will pay for itself.

Wrong Data

Your inventory records should be 100% accurate. Using Excel spreadsheets to track your inventory will lead to frequent errors that will cause serious problems for your business. An efficient, accurate and easy to use inventory management system is the best way to avoid this problem.

Unbalanced Inventory

Too many items left in your warehouse will cost you money. Too few and you’re missing opportunities. Inventory management software will give you the data you need to plan accordingly and help meet your customers’ needs on time.

Must-Have Software Capabilities

Product Attributes

If you have hundreds of products, then you need a software that can track product categories, including sizes, styles and colors.

Purchase Orders

Your inventory management software should be able track products from the initial sale to delivery, while automatically adjusting inventory levels.

Real-time Product Data

Knowing when items are back-ordered or out-of-stock is highly valuable. It allows you to plan ahead and inform customers.

Proper inventory tracking is a must if you want to create a long-term plan for improved business growth. With Spire, you get an accounting and inventory management solution designed to help lower costs, increase efficiency and keep you ahead of the competition.

Learn how Spire can help achieve the results you want. Contact us for a free trial.

Providing Good Customer Service with Your Business Management Software

Quality customer service is dependent on the efficiency of your office. Without the proper tools, your business will be left struggling to keep up with the competition and your customers may very well turn to them for service that is more efficient.

So how can business management software aid your journey towards exceptional customer service? Is it very helpful, and if so, how do these tools enhance your ability to deliver on your promises? By identifying the benefits of business management software, we can help answer those questions.

Benefits of Business Management Software

Access to business management software enables you to provide faster service to your customers. For example, should a client call requesting information on their shipment or why they happened to be charged a certain amount you need to have direct access to that data. Customers don’t like to be put on hold, and it’s your job to keep up with their needs and questions when they come calling. Business management software can give you the edge in these situations and help you answer your client’s questions almost immediately.

Another way that business management software assists you in providing quality customer service is through employee morale. Remember, your staff is largely responsible for the interactions between your brand and your clients, and if their attitude is made sour by an impossible data system, that will reflect back onto your clients. Technology can make their life easier and your clients much happier in the end.

Finally, business software can also help your business stay in the know before trouble hits. Without accurate information, you simply will not be able to spot trouble before it becomes a serious issue.

By utilizing advanced software to manage your business, you stand a greater chance of accomplishing your goal of providing high quality customer service.

Upgrading Your Business Management Software

Is your business management software causing more frustration than helping you grow your business? It may be time to consider upgrading to a new solution that will meet your business needs.

Upgrading Your Business Management Software

How Outdated Technology Can Hurt Your Business

Some business owners don’t believe there is a return when investing in technology. But the truth of the matter is that if you don’t keep up with newer technology, you could be sacrificing the success of your business for reduced productivity and slim profits.

Outdated technology, such as older computers, may be slowing down your business. Internal components progressively wear out, including hard drives and fans, leading to slower performance issues. These can be costly to repair, and will require time and money to service them. Depending on what needs to be fixed, it might be worthwhile to upgrade to a newer computer. As a result, you’ll notice an increase in computer performance that will help speed up administrative tasks.

If your business is using outdated computers, then you’re also probably running an older operating system. For example, Microsoft no longer supports their older operating systems, including Windows XP and Server 2003. If you continue to use older operating systems, your IT department may spend a lot of their time on maintenance and security patching to keep them running smoothly.

How old is the software you’re using? Outdated software might not run well on a newer operating system, or may not work at all. Software providers tend to not support their software on older computers or operating systems. This could leave you stuck, should you have any issues.

Using old technology can hurt your business. Instead of saving time and money, outdated technology can prevent your business from operating at its full potential. Investing in technology will allow your company to thrive and help you grow profits in the long run.

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