February 16, 2018
Get to Know the Stages of Business Software
Like everything of substance, a new business has to mature. And maturity does not come all at once. It comes in stages. One of the ways you can measure those stages is with business software.
As your business enters different stages, it will have different needs. So there is no need of getting too comfortable with your IT setup. The setup with which you start will not be what you end up with, provided you are successful. That is why the IT setup of a small business looks very different than the setup of a large one.
Enterprise-level software shares few similarities with software used by small to mid-sized businesses, but it can be difficult to determine when it’s time for you to make the leap from one software tier to another. Here is a brief guide on how to understand the stages of business software:
Managing Your Money
Every business will eventually need a little help managing money, even if it is only limited to taxes. But you need to be at the enterprise level before you need software like ERP that automates every part of your financial responsibilities.
Once you are at that level, the most challenging part is deciding which package is best for you. A good checklist can help you compare features and keep what is most important front and center. Some of the financials you will want to automate include:
These are just a few of the advanced financial concerns of an enterprise-level business. These are the types of tasks that cost dozens of staff-hours every month. Automating them can save money by reducing those hours as well as decreasing errors and inefficiencies. When your business is generating enough money for you to need ERP software, you have truly arrived.
Managing Your Data
While every business has data concerns, it takes at least a mid-sized business to get the most out of cloud computing services. For cloud computing to be an immediate concern, you need to be in the process of outgrowing your current data storage capacity. At some point, it becomes much more cost-efficient to have your data stored offsite. That way, you can expand as needed.
You will also need to deal with scalability issues. It is one thing to serve a small market with your goods and services. But how well will your data systems hold up to exponential growth? It’s not just a matter of storage; it’s also the servers. The more customers you have hitting your system with requests for information, the greater the server load. Insufficient server capacity and performance can stop business growth in its tracks.
There’s also the matter of data security. It’s no longer just your data you have to protect. Once you become a mid-sized business, it’s no longer just your data you have to protect, you now have client information to consider. It’s time for advanced cloud services when your storage, server, and security needs are more than you can manage.
Managing Your Sales
Before you can get big enough to worry about global marketing, you have to manage the task of selling. Some people get the cart before the horse by focusing on marketing campaigns before they have shown they have a product or service that anyone wants to buy in the first place.
Most of Managing sales is managing sales relationships with clients. That involves keeping up with tiny bits of data that can make or break a relationship if not used correctly. If you are not in a habit of using this type of software as a small business, you will have a hard time making it to the next level.
At the small-business level, it is all about sales and cash flow. At the next level, you are concerned about data storage, servers, and security. At the highest level, you have enough money so that you can’t manage it without enterprise software. Don’t worry. You will know when you get there.