November 2021 - Striven

Business Management Software: Finding The Best Fit

Business expense is a touchy subject. It’s not always easy to know how much to spend, or even what to spend it on—especially when it comes to new technologies. Ultimately, when it comes to business management technology, the true financial risk comes from sitting on the sidelines. 

The Aberdeen Group reports that small businesses that implement ERP, CRM, and other business management technologies reduce operational costs by 23%, administrative costs by 22%, and increase on-time deliveries by 24%.

Overall, 95% of businesses surveyed achieved major improvements after utilizing interconnected module ERP software. 

Despite many small business executives being aware of the positive financial impact that utilizing business management solutions can have, it’s common to still be wary about actually diving in head first and implementing these solutions.

Some common questions that small business owners ask themselves about business management technology would be:

“How do I know what technology can support the unique components of my business?”

“With so many different solutions on the market, how do I parse through them?”

“Will the perceived discomfort of implementing this technology be worth it?”

“Is my business big enough to warrant the use of a business management software solution?”

Answers to these questions are never immediate or obvious. It takes time to research, analyze, and find the best fit for your company—but first, you need a plan:

 How To Know When It’s Time To Invest In Software

1. When Scheduling Is Going Awry

Businesses use all kinds of apps for scheduling. Google provides handy calendars, and many people simply use the calendar built-in on their phones. And yes, physical calendars hanging on the wall still exist, too.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with these types of calendars, it becomes an issue when they become out of sync. Some employees work remotely, some are constantly in the field, and others simply don’t adhere to the conventional 9-5.

Having to constantly ask “Are you free to meet at ___?” becomes an inefficient and unproductive use of time when multiplied across an entire organization every single day. This doesn’t take into account the importance of scheduling meetings with customers and others outside of your company.

Business woman planning day scheduling appointment in calendar application.

It’s important to have a single, accurate, universal calendar that you and all of your employees can access from anywhere. It should contain all of the various tasks, milestones, and time-off considerations needed to have a streamlined workday free of confusion and schedule conflicts.

2. When Remote Work Becomes Challenging

Since 2020, remote work has evolved to change the way businesses operate. Many employees report higher levels of productivity, reduced stress, and financial freedom when they’re able to do their jobs from home—or, really, anywhere that isn’t the office. 

While remote work has by and large been a benefit for businesses that have been able to make such a transition, it hasn’t come without proper planning and management.

HR departments need to adjust their practices, project management strategies have to adapt to geographically scattered employees, and customer relationships need to be maintained in new ways—the list goes on. At the heart of the way that these new norms come to be is the technology used to facilitate them. 

3. When You Spend Too Much Time On Tedious Tasks

Mundane tasks are often important tasks but that doesn’t mean you should be spending a disproportionately large amount of time on them. Put another way, there are often smarter ways to tackle these kinds of tasks.

Automation is one of the key benefits of business management software. Tracking inventory, managing employee certifications, accounting, and even market campaigns are some of the areas where software can benefit your business. 

business management automation software

4. When Growth Is Imminent

While you don’t have a crystal ball to tell you exactly when your new customers will roll in, there are ways to know when growth is on the horizon. The cumulative effect of the work you and your employees have been doing for years eventually pays off. Sometimes it takes months, other times it takes years. But if you don’t properly plan for the success coming your way, you’ll be behind the curve when it comes time to manage a higher volume of business.

As the old adage goes, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Look at business management software in the same light—invest in an ERP for the company you want to grow into, not for the company you are at this very moment.

5. When Your Decisions Are Solely Gut-Based

Many small business owners rely on their intuition to make decisions. Entrepreneurship is full of success stories that come from decisions based on “gut feel.” While this can be effective when a business is just starting and has no data to pull from, it’s a whole different ball game when it comes to making decisions once years and years of data is available. 

For example, take Walmart. Not a small business, obviously, but every business starts somewhere. In Walmart’s early days, they were suffering setbacks by selling products at such a low cost that it wasn’t profitable. To paraphrase Sam Walton’s gut instinct, “If I offer the lowest prices, I’ll eventually generate the highest volume.” Obviously, this paid off. 

Flash forward to today. Do you think that the executives at Walmart are making their decisions based on gut instinct alone? While they certainly rely on human intelligence, they more importantly rely on swathes of customer data, sales figures, production trends, material costs, and countless other data points. 

While you won’t necessarily have billions of dollars to throw into an R&D department, you do have the option to utilize business management software to help guide you to better, more data-driven decisions.

6. When You Need To Pay More Attention To Customer Relationships

Reaching potential customers is hard, conversions are even harder, and retaining a regular customer base is the hardest of all. It’s easy to get excited about customers arriving en masse. But in reality, is your sales and administrative staff logistically prepared to handle a large influx of customers?

Gears and Customer Relationship Mechanism

One of the biggest benefits that business management software can offer a growing company is the ability to automate parts of the sales funnel. The human touch is still crucially important to the process, make no mistake—that’s exactly why it’s crucial to adopt automation technology.

Automating email campaigns, customer surveys, and the inputting of sales data within your system will allow the people within your business to direct more human attention to the people deciding to purchase your product or service, not to the back-office work done behind the scenes. 

7. When You Need Data Redundancy

With many staff members across all industries routinely working remotely, data security has taken on an increased level of importance. Hopefully, even if your business’ files are stored on a local hard drive, you have some sort of data protection and/or backups in place.

If this isn’t the case, or your backups are located on scattered flash drives and external hard drives, it may be time to invest in the cloud-powered data redundancy technology that business management software offers. 

Cloud storage is the safest way to back up your most precious data and documents. Decentralized across multiple servers and protected by world-class encryption technology, your data will be actively protected by security professionals.

In a 2021 study led by IBM, the average cost of a small business data breach for companies with less than 500 employees was $2.8 million dollars. Needless to say, this is a cost small businesses simply cannot afford.

8. When Your Employees Are Burnt Out

Work-related stress is going to happen with or without business management software. That’s just a fact of life. Meeting project deadlines and landing a big customer may always be stress-inducing events, but the methods by which those goals are accomplished don’t always have to be stressful.

Issues like missing documents, faulty financial data, and communication breakdowns don’t have to add stress to an already stressful professional workload. If your employees have voiced any of these concerns—or if you’ve felt them personally—take that as a sign to explore some business management software solutions.

business management hr software striven

9. When Compliance Measures Take On Increased Importance

Whether it’s meeting OSHA requirements, getting documents ready for tax season, or just maintaining general legal compliance throughout your operations, it’s financially and fiscally prudent to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to keeping things organized. 

Having trouble locating this data, let alone losing it outright, can cost you and your business in both the short and long term.

If your business is able to keep this data centralized and easily accessible to all necessary parties, you’ll be able to find information and make updates quickly without having to delay any contracts, miss tax deadlines, or lose any customers.

10. When You’re Spending Too Much On Technology

There will always be some costs that will be unavoidable. Computers eventually get old, cables eventually fray, and interns eventually spill a pot of coffee all over the keyboard. It happens.

Businessperson's hand holding tray with big pile of money

What doesn’t have to happen is the large-scale purchasing of equipment such as servers and software on a routine basis. Sure, software upgrades always occur no matter the type of software you’re working with, but it doesn’t always have to come in the form of a massive expenditure.

Most business management software bills on a monthly basis, with software routinely being upgraded on a monthly or quarterly basis. When it comes to expensive servers, you can cut them out entirely. Powered by the cloud, the cost of maintaining servers falls on the service provider, not you.

Where To Find Reliable Information

Finding reliable information is one of the most challenging things about today’s hyper-digitalized society. When it comes to making big business decisions, it’s important to act off of smart and reliable information.

Beyond the basic subscription costs and features, it’s important to dig into some of the finer details about the software you select to manage your business operations. Onboarding, implementation, and training costs, customer support packages, and verified user testimonials are just some of the pieces of information to consider throughout your search. 

Fortunately, there are trustworthy websites dedicated to helping businesses like yours make the smartest decisions possible. When it comes to your business, you can’t be too thorough.

G2 is an industry leader in all things software—they’ve compiled over 1.5 million authentic software reviews for ERPs, video conferencing solutions, eCommerce platforms, and much more.

Their goal is to help businesses make better decisions about technology. You can break down the pros and cons of each software listed on their site as well as compare prices and features between various software solutions.

One of the greatest advantages that G2 offers is the way that it displays its user reviews. Users are asked about the pros, cons, and overall “whys” for each respective software title, and users also list the type of business they represent, what industry they serve, and how many employees are in their organization. 

For example, there could be lots of glowing reviews about a software solution that primarily services large-scale manufacturing companies. While this software is great, it may not be great for your business, which, for example, could be a small catering company with 20 employees. Knowing the specifics of the businesses behind the reviews makes all the difference.

Capterra is another industry-leading software review website that has compiled over 1.5 million verified reviews in over 800 software categories. 

Their mission is to list every software product on the market so that every business can adequately search for its perfect software match. Founded in 1999, they’ve always been one of the leading free resources for software reviews.

Capterra breaks down its user reviews into an intuitive format. It asks users about the pros and cons of each software product while gathering a 1 thru 5-star rating in 5 categories—overall rating, ease of use, customer service, features, and value for money. It also lists a “likelihood To recommend” category that’s based on a 1 thru 10 scale.

Another great feature that Capterra offers is the ability to see what software alternatives users considered before settling upon their final choice, and what software they had previously switched from. With so many solutions available, it’s very helpful to have this firsthand knowledge.

Custom Demos

When it comes to software, the best way to see if it’ll work for you is always to try it yourself. Fortunately, that doesn’t require diving headfirst into a contractual commitment.

Most reputable software companies will offer you a free, custom demo of their software. It’s important to know that certain specificities within your operations can be accounted for. 

Business management software demo

For example, accounting software that doesn’t offer the ability to translate financial metrics into Canadian dollars may not be a good fit for your manufacturing business that has several clients in Canada. Or, if your business works on government contracts, you’d want to make sure that certain data can not be viewed by certain users within the system.

Even if your business is a somewhat run-of-the-mill operation, getting a demo of the software is a great way to ensure that the user experience, onboarding processes, and data management tools are up to far for the requirements you set forth.

How To Pick The Right Fit For Your Business

So far we’ve covered when it’s time to start looking for business management software solutions and where to find the best information. Now, it’s time to explore how your business can pick the software that’s the “right fit.”

“Right fit” is a somewhat ambiguous term. It means different things for different businesses, even within the same industry. To put it another way, finding the right software fit is a lot like exploring the dating world. 

Don’t judge a book by its cover, ask the right questions, and steer clear of red flags. It’s also important not to compromise what you want. Just like in the often chaotic, yet often wonderful world of dating, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind. But don’t forget, the right matches rarely fit inside of a broadly definable box—they require you to decide what you want and to make it happen.

Accounting Needs Accounted For

We’ll start with accounting because, well, it’s always about the money. It’s certainly not the only facet of software that’s important, but it’s something that’s universal among all businesses. And quite frankly, some software solutions do it better than others.

small business accounting software

Strong reporting functionality, connectivity to the cloud, and automation capabilities are some of the “must-have” boxes that need to be checked off for competitive, modern business management software.

It’s also important to have a system that can be easily accessed by your customers and vendors. This way customers can pay invoices online, vendors can submit purchase orders and submit bills, and a full record of all transaction history can be pulled up with a click.

In today’s professional environment, it pays to utilize the best technology available—businesses that use cloud accounting software acquire five times more customers than businesses that don’t. Five times! Not only do the automation capabilities that come along with cloud accounting software reduce costs and increase efficiency, but customers will also feel better about trusting a company that trusts the best software on the market.

Project and Task Management Is A Breeze

At the end of the day, what does your work boil down to? The small tasks and projects that comprise the larger work that you do year after year. As a business owner, your job is to keep the big picture in clear view while still maintaining a firm grasp of what needs to be done on a granular basis. 

With the right project management software, you’ll be able to do just that. It’s more than just assigning tasks and responsibilities, it’s about assigning the right people to the right jobs, keeping customers in the loop, and managing changes on the fly.

The best way to manage projects is by utilizing a microscope that can adjust from a wide-ranging, zoomed-out point of view to a hyper-specific, zoomed-in view and everywhere in between. Obviously, this is a metaphor for being able to manage both the big picture and granular details (unless you’re a scientist or something, then you can take this literally.)

Right now, only 22% of businesses take advantage of project management software despite the fact that 77% of high-performing projects undertaken by businesses put project management software to use. Project management capabilities are one of the many ways that business management software can keep your business ahead of the curve.

Top Notch Customer Support

Even high-performing software is only as good as the people behind it. It’s a lot like the food service industry—a restaurant could have the tastiest menu in the world, but if your waiter screws up your order and brings out a cold plate of food, it’s hard to say that this restaurant delivers upon its potential. 

Business management software falls under the same ideological umbrella. The system could be top-notch from a technical perspective, but if the customer service and implementation teams do not properly assist your business in unlocking its full value, then it isn’t likely to be the best fit.

five customer service people providing outstanding software support

Even in our tech-centric world, it still takes a proper human touch for a business to succeed using a business management software solution. Every business is unique—developing a relationship with the people behind the software to make sure that the software accommodates your needs is a crucial aspect of success.

All-in-all, customer service and support is crucial. 90% of Americans take customer service into account when deciding whether or not to do business with a company, and 89% of customers are more likely to make another purchase if they have a positive experience.

Wrapping Up

Making decisions—especially large financial decisions that affect your entire business—is never easy. There are so many variables to take into account. And once you’ve taken all of those variables into account, you’ll find even more to consider. 

At the end of the day, it comes down to knowing what your business wants and needs and conducting a thorough research process to seek out solutions that accomplish your goals. Business management software is never a one-size-fits-all solution for every business, but with the right tools, you can find the one that fits you and your business.

Striven Earns Top ERP Software Awards From Capterra, SoftwareAdvice, and more in 2021

Striven was recognized as an industry leader in multiple ERP software categories by Capterra, Software Advice, and GetApp.

Capterra, Software Advice, and GetApp have named Striven an industry leader in multiple software categories:

  • Best Ease Of Use – Capterra, 2021
  • Best Value – Capterra, 2021
  • Best Customer Support – Software Advice, 2021
  • Front Runners – Software Advice, 2021
  • Most Recommended – Software Advice, 2021
  • Best Functionality and Features – GetApp, 2021

These recognitions come as a result of excellent reviews across all three software selection channels. Users who rated Striven were asked to weigh in on functionality, customer support, value, ease of use, and more. Striven has outperformed many of its competitors in each ranking. Each award was sourced directly from these user reviews, two of which are represented below:

“Striven allowed us to integrate lead generation, email marketing and a CRM. This switch keeps all of these systems that were previously other software subscriptions down to just one- Striven.” – Blake E, 5/5 star Capterra review

“Striven is the ERP for growing businesses. Striven is the most customizable ERP on the market. Offering the ability to customize everything from sale order documents to emails! Allowing customizations in the processing of sales orders, invoices, and items.” – Bill M, 5/5 star Capterra review

Striven product leaders expect that it will consistently earn recognition for its product and team performance, with more awards to come in 2022.

Striven is an all-in-one business management software providing a complete end-to-end cloud solution for most professional industries. It not only offers billing and invoicing tools, but also includes solutions for customer and contract management, projects, tasks, inventory, HR, and more. To learn more, visit

Since 1999, we’ve been the web’s leading free resource for business software help. We connect you to insights and software to help you do better work. We help you find the right software for your business. Feel confident with the most comprehensive software search resource out there. To learn more, visit

Adapting Successfully To Digital Transformation

Technology—namely business management technology—has a unique impact on every small business. Drilling down one layer deeper, technology has a unique impact on every employee and customer. Drilling down yet another layer, technology has a unique impact on every single action (and non-action) taken by every employee and customer.

Technology plays a vital role in shaping and defining the way a small business operates, at levels big and small.

Just as technology has a unique impact on every small business, every business is also unique in where it stands in terms of its respective technology life cycle. At some level, every business is at a different stage of digital transformation.

A study conducted by Deloitte found that nearly 80% of small businesses are not taking full advantage of the digital business management tools at their disposal. 

Some businesses make the most out of using the bare minimum level of technology (i.e. Microsoft Office, Google Drive, basic shared calendars, etc.) while others have adopted various ERP, CRM, and marketing technologies. Chances are, you find yourself somewhere in between. Even if you’ve only begun to scratch the surface in researching integrated business technologies (kind of like what you’re doing right now) you’re well on your way to the top of the small business technological adoption curve. 

Before you arrive at the moment of “Yes, that’s the technology I want and need. Let’s put it to work,” there are a few things to consider. It starts with taking a step backward and performing some holistic analysis of your business as it is, and your business as you want it to be in the future. 

Assess The Status Quo

Before you can start assessing the future of your business and the way that technology will have an impact on that future, you need to take account of your business as it stands currently.

Not just the technology used in your operations, but the logistical processes, financial decisions, employee roles and responsibilities, and anything else that has a meaningful impact. 

business management operations software

Take note of every detail. Not just your inventory and related physical components of your business, but the intangible ways you go about your day, the ways your employees go about theirs, and everything in between. Analyze what’s being done on a daily basis, and what isn’t.

You’ll most likely find that the insights you uncover will range from good to bad and everything in between. Let’s go over how you should handle each:

For any positive findings about your business’ status quo that you uncover, you want to leave those mostly untouched. However, it’s still important to keep in mind the ways that technology could improve upon them. Just because these findings are positive in the current moment doesn’t ensure that they will stay that way forever as your business grows.

For any negative findings, it’s important to launch a full-scale revamp. Why and how are these findings hindering the overall health of your business? Is it a human, logistical, or technological problem? Is it a combination of these factors? This is where it becomes critically important to take a step back and figure out exactly what can be done at every level big and small.

Aside from sitting down with everything involved in the aspect of your business that you’ve found to be a hindrance, one additional decision you could make would be to contact a professional business technology consultant. They will be able to provide you with an objective perspective of your business while at the same time providing you with expertise in terms of how technology can help alleviate the problems at hand. 

Create Goals

The changes you make within your small business—technological or otherwise—are only as good as the reasons why you’re making those changes. Change for the sake of change doesn’t cut it. Meaningful changes that serve a bigger purpose with an easily quantifiable end result will prove to be changes worth making.

Successful group managing goals for digital transformation

That being said, what are the goals that indicate success for your business? If and when you achieve them, what are some other goals you will outline each and every day in order to maintain that success? At what point will you be devising new goals to accomplish?

Obviously, generating a higher revenue is the end objective for every small business. The goals involved in getting to that final destination are what will vary. Selling more products, hiring additional/specialized staff, and acquiring better leads are some of the typical means to this end.

A major component of goal setting isn’t just about defining the objective you wish to achieve—it’s about setting smaller, more granular goals on how those overarching goals will be accomplished.

For example, if your large, overarching goal is to acquire more customers, your granular goals should look something like this:

  • Develop valuable, gated content on your site that contains relevant search intent
  • Use project management tools to define your budget and medium(s) for marketing the aforementioned content
  • Utilize automation technology to send automated emails and drip campaigns to prospect information collected from the gated content
  • Ensure that a system is in place where all sales staff have access to up-to-the-minute information on leads
  • Ask for and analyze customer feedback on sales staff/process/experience in order to figure out what’s working and what can be improved upon
  • Be able to quickly view daily, monthly, quarterly, and yearly sales figures at a glance

Not every list of goals that your business puts forth will look like this. Some may include many more steps, some fewer. However, using this framework of focusing on the process minutiae in order to accomplish the larger objective, you’ll be able to hone the best technologies and processes to accomplish your goals.

Data Flow Between Systems and People

Even the most basic small businesses have several departments. Executive-level management, accounting, field employees, mid-level management—the list goes on.

Every department needs to communicate and collaborate with one another. Interdepartmental communication has always had its challenges, but given the drastic increase in some employees working from home while others are not, these challenges have been exacerbated.

business management software data management

The flow of time-sensitive information not only depends on the people involved, it now further depends on the technology used to effect that communication. Think about your own business. If tasked with retrieving information from another department, how long would you anticipate it to take to receive that information? Minutes? Hours? Complete uncertainty?

If the answer is anything above “just a few minutes” your department may find itself working in an information silo. Odds are, if one department finds itself here, they all do. 

Data silos aren’t some malevolent concoction drawn up by a disgruntled executive looking to inflict stress on his employees. They are simply a natural result of business process development. People primarily work and share information and collaborate with people in their immediate cluster of co-workers. While it’s not anyone’s fault that data silos exist within your organization, it doesn’t mean that they don’t cause problems. 

Areas Negatively Impacted By Data Silos


Even in the most segmented businesses with the most specialized, sequestered employees that don’t share many commonalities among the tasks they perform (think accountants vs crane operators) there will be data that must be shared across departments.

The longer it takes to find information, the longer it will take to complete tasks. Simple as that. Over time, this will cause backlogs, delays, and other inefficiencies that will have a negative trickle-down effect across your entire business.

Data Accuracy and Analysis

When you were younger (or as an adult, we don’t judge) have you ever played the game “whisper down the lane?” Sometimes, the game is also called “telephone.” 

If you’re unfamiliar, the objective is for the first person in line to privately repeat a phrase to the next person in line, with every person in line privately repeating it to the next person, eventually making its way to the final person in line. Nearly every single time, the phrase is slowly—yet unintentionally—manipulated and altered so much so that it barely resembles the original phrase uttered by the first person in line who conceived it. 

When small businesses don’t have a single, centralized, data storage and communication hub that contains a single, accurate version of the truth, this same phenomenon occurs. Disconnected email chains, handwritten notes, and duplicate files are just some of the many ways that data can be misinterpreted as it passes from one person to another. 


business culture communication cartoon among three people

Beyond the technological component, communication between departments is also largely dependent on the interpersonal relationships developed between employees.

Working from home, this has become a challenge, but a far from impossible one to meet.

Regardless of geographical circumstances, members of departments often cling to their data out of fear that it will be altered by someone lacking appropriate skills or context. While taking ownership and pride in work is important, it’s just as important to have trust in members of other departments when handling data. 

When projects, documents, or other relevant information needs to be handed off to a different department, it’s important for employees to recognize that that data is safeguarded and that a proper history of edits and alterations can be recorded. A little healthy competition and chest-puffing between departments isn’t always a bad thing, but it’s important that constructive collaboration is always the top priority.

Wrapping Up

Digital transformation sounds complicated because, well, sometimes it is. Taking a step back to take a holistic look at everything going on within your business will certainly shed some light on things you were unaware of before. That’s a good thing—albeit sometimes painful if not all of those things you find are “good things.”

Technology impacts everything. From the little things people do when they clock in each day to the year-over-year goals and strategies you put forth, technology can be a catalyst to make sure your business is operating as efficiently as possible.

The great thing about integrated business management software technology at the core of your business is that it has a cyclical, reverberating effect—it allows your business to run more efficiently which streamlines your workflow, therefore creating more productivity among your employees, which allows your business to run more efficiently, which streamlines your workflow…you get the idea.

The Hidden Value of Integrated Software Systems

Running a business is a high-stakes balancing act. Accounting, inventory, talent acquisition,  and customer relationship management are just some of the countless items that business owners, operations managers, and other executive-level employees need to manage and master simultaneously. 

In addition, you have to actively keep in mind the most important rule of all: in order to succeed, you need to keep moving forward. 

It’s easy to get lost in the sea of tasks and responsibilities that come with the territory of operating a small business. Even with reliable employees to delegate to, the hardest-working small business owners and executives still struggle to sort through and properly prioritize everything that needs to be done. There’s no one size fits all method to success—every business in every industry (not to mention every business owner and executive) is different. The challenges each face are different, sometimes drastically so, and will require different solutions.

When time is of the essence—which almost always seems like the case—it can be tempting to just simply get to work. Simply “getting to work”, implies answering the first email that you see, handling the first employee request you receive, or otherwise jumping into the throes of daily labor. In other words, many people responsible for overseeing numerous tasks and departments default to focusing entirely on a single task without always keeping in mind the bigger picture of what needs to be accomplished. 

Integrated Software Systems Help You Work Smarter

Abraham Lincolns stands with axe

Abraham Lincoln is often quoted as having said, “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening my axe.”

There’s something comforting about working hard. It provides purpose, clarity, and the peaceful satisfaction of pure, unadulterated accomplishment. Hard work is the foundation of any business and is a core personality trait of any successful businessperson. Hard work is the foundation of anything worthwhile and substantial in this world. 

For someone whose job description centers around a singular or just a small handful of tasks (i.e. making cold calls, assembling a product, or counting inventory) putting your head down and getting to work is typically the best course of action. 

But those who manage small businesses at a high level know all too well that their job description is never just one thing. It’s about being a career chameleon—sometimes the job calls for being a marketing director, sometimes it calls for being an accountant. Other times it calls for being a hands-off facilitator that’s able to successfully delegate and put others in a position to succeed.

Because small business leadership roles are so prone to widely fluctuating responsibilities, it’s not (just) about hard work. It’s about smart work. 

It’s not about any one email, sale, or decision. It’s about all of them. It’s about how they affect each other, how processes are able to cohesively mesh with one another, how action items are prioritized, and how keeping a big-picture perspective at all times enhances the effectiveness of your business strategy. It requires every small decision to be made with the business’ overarching, long-term goals in mind.

Analyzing Unintegrated Software Systems and Inefficient Processes

Sometimes, it even requires taking a further step backward to understand how and why tasks are completed, and whether the processes for completing them can be improved upon.

integrated business software

Taking a step backward to address the big “whys” and “hows” of the processes and procedures within your business is often one of the most difficult things for business owners to do.

When your business is already successful, it actually makes this process of introspection and analysis a bit harder. The “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality reigns with authority in the headspace of many business owners.

It isn’t about fixing something that is broken—don’t change what your business does (selling car parts, repairing computers, shipping home decor, etc.) but rather it’s about updating and adjusting the processes, methods, and integrated business software solutions surrounding how your business goes about achieving these goals.

For example:

If you have been successfully reaching customers via word of mouth in order to sell your products, you may want to ask “How can I market my products more effectively, profitably, and on a larger scale?”

Suppose you have been successfully tracking your inventory and sales by utilizing spreadsheets and actual sheets of paper. In that case, you may want to ask “How can I more reliably sort, analyze, and keep my data safe?”

If you have been successfully sending field technicians to their job sites but have been exclusively using text messages and phone calls to communicate financial, customer, and job site data, you might ask “How can I implement a more streamlined system for transmitting sensitive data from the field to the office and vice versa?”

What do the processes described in these common scenarios all have in common? 

  1. The processes being relied upon are unintegrated and disconnected.
  2. These processes are centered around outdated technology or inefficient methodologies.
  3. The unintegrated and antiquated nature of these processes does not allow for a clear, big-picture focus to be implemented at every level of decision-making and action, hindering growth, scalability, and profitability.

For small businesses, the first step to moving forward should be to take a step back and analyze the process-level improvements that can be made in terms of utilizing technology to optimize workflows and processes.

This isn’t to say that every procedure within your company needs to be overhauled or that every piece of technology your business owns is now rendered useless—it’s about making sure that every procedure within your company is connected in the most optimal fashion, and that employees are going about their business in the most efficient way possible. From accounting to CRM to projects to onboarding, the interconnectedness of data points and information is a catalyst for better strategic and financial outcomes.

For small businesses, it pays to take note of the strategies large enterprises are backing:

  • Data-driven companies are growing at a rate of about 30% annually.
  • Data-driven companies are 20x more likely to attract customers and 6x more likely to retain them.
  • 91.9% of leading companies are accelerating their “big data” investments.

It’s worth noting that these organizations have a (much) higher budget than small businesses do. They will be able to leverage gargantuan data sets from across the globe faster than any small business is capable of. That doesn’t diminish the fact that the strategy of utilizing fully integrated systems is a winning one. In fact, there are many ways that small businesses can put the same strategies to work.

Before these organizations implemented innovative, integrated business management technology in order to leverage their data, they made the important first step that we discussed earlier: taking a step back to assess what improvements could be made to their existing processes and operations and what downsides arise due to disconnected systems. 

Let’s take a look at some of the most common challenges caused by process inefficiencies at the technological level and the effects that addressing these problems at their root can have.

Challenges Caused By Disconnected Software Systems

Delayed Data and Reporting

Having accurate data is good—but having accurate, real-time, and easily accessible data is great. When relying on various and scattered spreadsheets, text messages, and emails to find important information, both accuracy and efficiency suffer, leading to slower overall time to task completion.

In all, businesses lose about 20% of their potential revenue due to poor-quality data.

This could potentially have a trickle-down effect in all phases of your business. For example, an incorrect or lagging inventory count will throw sales numbers into a state of confusion, therefore increasing the amount of time accountants spend trying to find accurate information. They’ll need to consult various records in order to rectify the numbers. Not only will this result in wasted time, it could potentially result in a customer not being able to fulfill their order due to incorrect inventory figures. 

Wasted Productivity

Time is always of the essence—when it comes to the information that your business needs to function each day, the less time that can be spent searching for the accurate version of said information eats into productivity. In fact, if there are multiple versions of the same data at all, that should be an indicator that this is a process to be improved upon.

business management efficiency integrated software

Wasted time hurts businesses in more ways than one. When employees at all levels are utilizing inefficient processes, it not only takes away from additional productivity, it lowers the overall accuracy of the information, therefore leading to an increased lack of productivity by having to solve errors when they arise. Yes, errors are inevitable, but taking substantial efforts to reduce their frequency and severity will pay off in the long run.

Increased Cost

While faulty data and decreased productivity lead to reduced revenue, there are other elements that can lead to inefficient processes and systems that generate an increased cost.

Odds are, you utilize some sort of technology to manage your customer data, accounting needs, and other standard types of operations. Are these technologies built to connect to each other? When something goes wrong, is there a single entity you can contact, or will you have to spend additional time and money on customer support from various technology providers to get to the root of the problem? Have you had to spend additional time both learning and teaching your employees the ins and outs of several, separate software systems?

With the ever-increasing costs associated with goods and labor, it’s imperative that the technology your business relies on to function properly provides a net positive cost-benefit ratio.

Wrapping Up

Integrated software systems technology can and should be used as a boon to improve your business at a holistic level. At the end of the day, technology is a means to an end—that end is making your business operate more efficiently and profitably than it did the day before.