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Businesses are consumers to professional goods and services just as people are consumers to personal goods and services. Businesses are susceptible to many of the same problems that any consumer faces. One of these is the purchase of tools that ultimately prove extraneous, either because another tool in their repertoire already fulfills a key need, or because the tools are useless as a standalone. The truth is, with enterprise-level software, standalone functionality often doesn’t cut it. If a tool cannot communicate with other important business applications, then ultimately it makes business systems clunky and inefficient. Like a link in a chain, individual software may be strong, but unless it is chained together with other strong links, it isn’t useful.
Obviously, the less sophisticated a business is, the easier it is to get by with simple, standalone systems. The problem is that the number of businesses that fall under the category of “simple” is very low. Let’s be honest, businesses only really seem easy from the outside. Even the most basic business has managers, founders, and executives throwing their hands up and asking, “What’s next?”
There is no one solution that will fit every company and that is kind of the point. Choosing software that recognizes its limitations and allows for linkages with other software to addresses those weaknesses is a very sound strategy. Popular business software such as Microsoft Dynamics follows this principle, and that is one reason why many companies view it as a flexible and intuitive program. There is no reason to limit yourself when so many options are available to customize your software to fit your needs specifically.
The key is to find what works and what doesn’t. There are many ways to go about this, from looking up software reviews to following companies on social media, but one of the most effective is still a quick phone call. Businesses should be able to answer questions about their tools and how they can solve your problems. Calling a company also serves as a fantastic litmus test for customer service, which every company claims to excel at, yet comes up short in reality.
Eliminate “shelfware” and expand the capabilities of your business software through a little research, and you will find that business problems become much more manageable. Insight is a key competitive advantage, and even moreso given the cutthroat pace of our current economic climate.
Have you found any particularly effective software combinations? Do you have any tips for evaluating the efficacy of business tools?