Business management

Best Business Management Software – Reviews & Prices 2022

What do you need to run a business? In the digital age, “good business sense” no longer guarantees success. To stay competitive, many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are adopting software to streamline their operations.

There are several enterprise management systems to choose from, designed to meet all types of user needs, including specialized tools, industry-specific software, and products that border on enterprise resource planning suites. enterprise (ERP) solutions.

We’ve created this buyer’s guide to help you better understand how to select the right business management software for your organization.

Whether you’re looking to invest in business management software for the first time or upgrading your current system, this guide can help you make a more informed purchasing decision.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is business management software?
Common Business Management Software Capabilities
Key Buying Considerations
What type of buyer are you?

What is business management software?

Business management systems help automate day-to-day administrative functions that keep your business running smoothly, such as:

  • Billing and invoicing
  • Customer contact management
  • Employee management
  • Order and inventory management
  • Task and time tracking

Generally, “business management software” refers to an integrated suite that includes several separate but related applications within a single solution. However, other systems will focus on a specific business area, such as customer relationship management (CRM) or accounting.

If the latter is the type of business management software you are interested in, inquire about integration capabilities with the vendor. It is important that any standalone applications or other software currently used in your business integrate with your business management platform. This way, you can ensure seamless data transfer between systems, giving you better monitoring and control of operations.

Common Business Management Software Capabilities

As stated above, business management software is designed to automate the majority of day-to-day business operations. Business needs vary by industry, and the exact features of these tools can also vary, so it’s important for potential buyers to make sure the system they choose matches their organizational requirements.

For example, the needs of a retailer will be different from those of a manufacturer. As such, the retailer may need a point-of-sale business management system, while the manufacturer will likely need material requirements planning (MRP).

Here are examples of common business functions you should look for when evaluating different systems:

Accounting Manage basic financial data for general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable and bank reconciliation. Likely includes invoicing and financial reporting such as profit and loss, cash flow statement and balance sheet. Connect with modules for purchase orders, inventory, etc. May also include additional industry-specific features, such as fund accounting (for nonprofits).
Content management Upload, store, share and back up business documents and files. Manage everything from purchase orders and customer contact information to employee W-2s and performance records.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) CRM encompasses functions such as customer contact management, customer service and support, help desk, field service management, and more. This application is often at the center of these systems, especially for the service and sales sectors.
Human Resources (HR) Manage key HR functions including benefits administration, personnel tracking and payroll. Includes workforce management features such as employee scheduling and time and attendance. May also include strategic HR functions such as applicant tracking, performance appraisal, talent management and learning management.
Inventory management Automate ordering, stocking and inventory tracking processes. Monitor on-hand inventory balances, track raw materials and stocked items, and manage batches. Features include product categorization, purchase and sales orders, electronic scanning, and automatic ordering.
Marketing and Sales Attract new customers and visitors, build your brand, deliver promotional materials, and cultivate leads through the sales funnel. Features include marketing automation, lead generation and management, email marketing and social media management, resource management, and analytics.
Reports and Analytics Track key performance indicators (KPIs) and optimize performance across all business functions. Get actionable insights, report issues and operations that can be improved. Features include dashboards, data visualization tools, dashboards, and report writers.
Planning Create and maintain employee schedules, assign workers to shifts, track attendance, manage customer service delivery and field service worker dispatch schedules. Features include calendar management, automatic reminders and clock management.
Workflow Management Define, control and automate business workflows. Features include task and time tracking, automatic notifications, graphical process modeling, role-based access, and reporting.

Key Buying Considerations

Depending on your business and industry needs, you may need additional features not listed above. So, when evaluating business management software, keep the following criteria in mind:

Deployment possibilities. Enterprise management software is available for on-premises and cloud deployment. The on-premises software is hosted internally on the user’s servers. The company is responsible for installation and configuration, as well as ongoing maintenance and purchase of subsequent software updates.

Conversely, cloud-based software is hosted remotely, on the vendor’s servers. This means that the vendor is responsible for managing maintenance, delivery and software updates. Therefore, the initial costs associated with cloud-based software are generally lower, although the costs of each deployment option tend to even out over time.

You can use our TCO calculator to estimate the immediate and long-term costs of each deployment option to determine which makes the most cost sense for your business.

Integration Requirements. While many business management systems are designed to manage the entire operations of a business, you may need or want to supplement your business management software with a standalone application. For example, a construction company may need estimating and calculation software that integrates with its business management suite.

It’s always a good idea to check integration capabilities with vendors before buying new software. However, as your business management software will be the central system used to house all your business data and you probably won’t replace this system as often as you would with other tools, it is imperative that you assess Carefully review your integration needs during the software selection process and review these requirements with vendors.

Industry needs. There are several industry-specific business management solutions that might better suit your needs than non-specialized, off-the-shelf software. For example, NetSuite is a vendor that offers several pre-built solutions for a variety of industries, such as wholesale distribution, retail, healthcare, and financial services.

Retail Dashboard, in NetSuite

Professional services businesses, such as a marketing agency or software development firm, will have more project-centric needs than other industries. These organizations will likely need project accounting modules, resource management applications, and project portfolio management governance as well.

What type of buyer are you?

Small enterprises. Most small businesses will be well served by standard business management software, such as BizAutomation, which helps them manage day-to-day tasks and operations to make their business more efficient. Alternatively, they can choose a solution focused on a critical area of ​​their business, such as planning or marketing and sales, and integrate with standalone applications for less critical operations.

Niche industries, such as a martial arts studio or lounge, might consider an industry-specific solution that meets their unique needs, for example, membership or appointment management. Examples of these types of software include The Studio Director and MINDBODY.

Medium-sized and growing companies. Midsize and growing businesses can also use most standard business management suites, such as SAP Business One, to run their operations.

However, as companies grow, they will likely need to implement more controls over their business processes and better alignment between information technology and operational technology. At this point, they should consider investing in business process management software to help them standardize processes and workflows across multiple departments and improve operational performance. (Not to be confused with general “business management” software, “business process management” software has a more specific definition and set of technical requirements. Follow the link above to read our guide to buyer and find out more.)

As they grow, they will require more than the automation of day-to-day tasks and business processes, as well as long-term planning. At this point, they might consider investing in an ERP system to help them manage their business goals.