Business software explained: What is it and what can it do for my company?

If you’re in the market for business software to support your small to medium sized company, you’ve probably been bombarded by abbreviations during your search. CRM, ERP, HRMS, MRP etc. Maybe you don’t speak tech, but still know that you need business software to help manage, organise and merge your internal and external business operations.

Never fear, Code Dock is here to clear away the fog. We’ll explain all of the business software options available to you, the purposes they serve, and how they can be used independently to meet your specific needs, or linked together to create one harmonious system that will simplify your life and streamline your activities. We’ve also provided a handy key at the bottom of this page to translate all those pesky software abbreviations for you.

What is business software?
Let’s start with the basics. A business software system serves to integrate all components of your business, automate functions and share relevant data interdepartmentally. You may have run across the term ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) in your research. This is basically how we techies refer to business software services as a whole. It includes all of the function-specific sets of business software (which we are going to explore individually in the following paragraphs), such as finance and accounting software, human resources management software (HRMS), and customer relationship management (CRM).

Now let’s have a look at each separate piece to the business software puzzle.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
We’ll start with CRM because it’s one of the most popular business software terms buzzing around the internet right now, but it’s important to understand that a CRM system alone may not be sufficient to fulfil all of your operational needs. Customer relationship management is just what its name suggests: the customer information portion of your business software system. This is where all of the data pertaining to your current and potential customers will be stored and managed.

Why is this important? The purpose of a CRM is to help build relationships with your customers, improve sales growth, support marketing and social media activity and increase customer retention rates. Do you know who your customers are? The information compiled in your CRM can give you an analysis of your customers’ purchasing patterns, personal information, demographics preferences. This can help you to create and automate targeted email campaigns, improve your product based on customer input and tech support calls, and prevent duplicated efforts by tracking sales force activity. CRM is the perfect tool for coordinating your customer interactions across all departments, but managing internal operations will require different business software components.

Finance and Accounting Software
This is a great place to start to give you an example of how all the individual business software components can work together to create one corresponding, interactive system. For instance, with finance and accounting software, when a customer makes a purchase, an invoice is automatically created and sent to them using their information stored in the CRM portion of your software. The appropriate accounts are credited or debited and your accounting documents (balance sheets, cash flow statements, etc) are updated accordingly. All of these tasks are completed in one go as soon as the purchase is made, without requiring any additional action from you or your team.

At Code Dock, we integrate Xero for the finance and accounting portion of your business software suite. We connect it to your system using a techy gadget called an API, which allows us to feed your data to Xero for number crunching and sorting. From there, they take care of all the finance-related tasks such as payroll, bank reconciliation, quote generation, invoicing, bill paying and so on. No more manually entering data in multiple places to keep all accounts and records up to date. Code Dock and Xero will take care of it for you.

Human Resources Management Software (HRMS)
Let’s dive a little further into the integration aspect of your business software system. Remember how we just mentioned that your finance and accounting portion can generate payrolls for you? It receives that information from the human resources management software. This system keeps track of your employee information, from hours worked to confidential government information to birthdays.

HRMS makes scheduling and productivity tracking easy. Employees can use this service to record sick days or submit request for holiday leave, which employers can approve or decline and send notifications with a mouse click. The schedule will then prevent employees from being assigned tasks on days when they’re not in. Important health and safety documents that are required by law to be made available to all employees can be posted here for 24-7 accessibility, along with other company manuals and training guides.

Managers can also use this software to record notes for quarterly employee reviews and track key performance indicators (KPI’s). We’ll sync your CRM to feed sales data to your HRMS and keep track of sales quotas and individual employee performance for you. Want to know how close you are to meeting your monthly goals? You can monitor performance targets here. Want to create employee profiles for your website and customer service activities? Employees can generate and update their profiles and photos here, too. Any employee-related business activities are easily managed and made available with human resources management software.

Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP II)
More abbreviations, I know. But this software will help you manage your production activities so that your resources are utilised in the best ways possible, saving you both time and money. It goes beyond planning raw materials orders for production capacity (which is the function of materials requirements planning, or MRP). The MRPII “value stream includes production planning, machine capacity scheduling, demand forecasting and analysis modules, and quality tracking tools” (Chron).

MRPII can even help you track employee labor contribution to determine how many man-hours are required for production, and how efficiently individuals are performing. This data can then relay back to the HRMS piece of the software pie for those quarterly reviews and key performance indicators we talked about earlier. The CRM software can also use this information to notify customers when their orders are ready and shipped, provide tracking information and support the customer service team in dealing with customer inquiries.

Supply Chain Management (SCM)
“Supply chain management (SCM) is the oversight of materials, information, and finances as they move in a process from supplier to manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer” (TechTarget). This process covers all the steps before and after your MRP II functions. It involves not just planning for materials needed, but coordinates and tracks communication with materials suppliers, and manages the physical and informational flow of said materials. It also picks up where MRP II leaves off by following the materials in their product form all the way from the shipping dock to reception by the end user.

Information stored in SCM software can be shared with finance and accounting software to manage budgets. It can also coordinate with CRM software for purpose such as tracking customer satisfaction with delivery times and product availability.

Business Software Experts
Clearly, there are endless possibilities available to fulfil your business software needs. Don’t get bogged down by abbreviations and information overload. Contact an experienced professional who will work with you to decide exactly which pieces to include in your business software system. We’ll help you find the right recipe to success with streamlined operations integrated throughout your entire business.

Contact Code Dock London today. We specialise in creating custom experience driven management information systems. For more information, contact us at contact@codedock.co.uk or call +44 (0)20 3637 8870

ERP: Enterprise Resource Planning

CRM: Customer Relationship Management

HRMS: Human Resources Management Software

MRP: Materials Requirement Planning

MRP II: Manufacturing Resource Planning

SCM: Supply Chain Management

SAAS: Software as a Service

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/mrp-vs-mrpii-15365.html

http://searchmanufacturingerp.techtarget.com/definition/supply-chain-management

 

Marcelo Lazaroni