Top 10 Types of Business Software [ERP, Accounting, Supply Chain, CRM, Marketing Automation, etc.]

Written By: Eric Kimberling
Date: May 24, 2023

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The beauty of growing a business today lies in the availability of numerous technologies and software that can aid in its expansion. However, it is important to understand the various types of technologies that are at your disposal. This is what I aim to discuss in this article.

During our clients' digital transformation journeys, one of the initial questions we often receive is regarding the suitable technology options available in the market. They inquire about the different software types and which one is the best fit for their organization. Ultimately, they want to know which software will enable their business growth most effectively. Today, I would like to discuss the top 10 types of business software that you should consider and understand as part of your digital transformation journey.

Financials & Accounting

One of the most common types of software used by businesses to support their growth is financial and accounting software. These packages enable you to manage your finances, including your general ledger, accounts payable, and accounts receivable. Typically, organizations begin by implementing finance and accounting technology and then add other technologies as their needs evolve and their business grows. Some popular accounting and finance systems include QuickBooks and Xero, but there are many others available. For more detailed information on accounting and finance software options, I recommend checking out the related video on my YouTube channel, where I provide a countdown of the top 10 systems.

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Business Intelligence (BI) is another type of software that can be utilized for finance and accounting purposes, specifically for financial reporting. However, its functionality extends beyond that, as it can integrate and analyze data from multiple systems. If your organization already has separate systems for finance and accounting, warehouse management, sales, or customer service, BI can serve as a central portal to gather and consolidate data from these various sources. While accounting and finance software automates financial processes and provides basic financial reports, BI enables the consolidation of vast amounts of data from across the enterprise, even beyond finance and accounting. Business intelligence is increasingly prevalent in the business world and is worth considering as part of your digital transformation efforts.

ERP Software

Another common technology utilized by organizations, particularly as they grow and become mid-size or larger, is ERP software. ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning, and its purpose is to integrate and streamline various functions and data points within an organization. Unlike software that focuses on a specific function, ERP software provides workflows and automation for the entire operations. For a more in-depth understanding of ERP software, I recommend watching the video on my YouTube channel titled "What is ERP Software." Additionally, on my channel, you can find a couple of videos that present a countdown of the top 10 ERP systems available in the marketplace. These resources will provide you with further information on the nature of ERP software.

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CRM Software

CRM software is another powerful and commonly used software, especially among high-growth organizations that prioritize sales and revenue acceleration. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and it is sometimes referred to as salesforce automation. This software allows you to automate the entire sales process, starting from the initial contact with prospects or potential customers, and encompassing all sales activities throughout the customer lifecycle. It helps you effectively manage your sales funnel, optimizing lead flow and converting as many leads as possible into qualified and paying customers. CRM software provides a specialized solution tailored to sales and customer service needs.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is a highly effective and beneficial technology that many organizations utilize, even from the early startup phase. It involves the use of software that enables lead capture, targeted marketing campaigns, and the creation of email campaigns and landing pages to attract potential customers. Marketing automation optimizes lead flow and ensures that marketing efforts result in actual leads for further engagement. There are several examples of marketing automation software commonly used in the industry, such as HubSpot and Oracle's marketing automation products. Additionally, there are niche-focused solutions available that automate specific marketing processes. I encourage you to explore these options. If you are in the early stages of growth or seeking to enhance the scalability of your marketing activities, I recommend considering marketing automation software as a valuable category.

Ecommerce

E-commerce has experienced significant growth, particularly in the post-pandemic era. Many organizations were compelled to shift from in-person sales to e-commerce as a means of reaching their customers. This led to the adoption of e-commerce platforms by numerous retail organizations, allowing them to sell their products and services online and facilitate digital transactions with customers. Consequently, the use of e-commerce software has become increasingly common, particularly in the business-to-consumer (B2C) sector. However, there is also a rising demand for e-commerce functionality in the business-to-business (B2B) space. This trend can be attributed, in part, to consumer expectations shaped by user-friendly platforms like Amazon and Alibaba. As consumers, we have become accustomed to seamless online shopping experiences, and we now anticipate similar convenience in our business interactions, even in B2B environments. Implementing e-commerce enables organizations to provide online access to their product and service catalogs, facilitate direct online purchases, and drive revenue growth, making it a valuable strategy for high-growth organizations.

Warehouse Management

If your organization falls into the manufacturing, distribution, or supply chain-intensive sector, it is likely that you have a warehouse or distribution center to manage. In such cases, implementing warehouse management software can greatly assist in automating warehouse operations. This type of technology enables you to efficiently manage inventory, storage locations, identify stock shortages, anticipate potential stock shortages, and streamline pick-pack-ship processes. There is a wide range of warehouse management software options available in the marketplace, and for more detailed information, I recommend watching my video on YouTube that covers the top 10 warehouse management systems currently available. Rest assured, there are numerous excellent warehouse management technologies that can help enhance your supply chain and distribution processes, leading to growth and improvement in your organization.

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Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management software is a broader category that encompasses warehouse management and other aspects of the supply chain. It includes functions such as supply and demand planning, logistics and transportation, and procurement. Utilizing supply chain management software allows for the automation of various processes related to supply chain management. If you're looking to optimize your end-to-end supply chain processes beyond just warehouse management, considering supply chain management software is a viable option.

For more comprehensive information and insights into specific vendors and types of supply chain management software, I encourage you to watch the video on my YouTube channel that provides a top 10 ranking of supply chain management systems available in the marketplace.

Field Services Software

Field services software is another valuable technology that can greatly benefit many organizations. It is particularly relevant for organizations that have remote work crews, such as construction companies or utilities. In these industries, where field crews are deployed, capturing and collecting data from the field is essential. Field services management software facilitates this process by enabling the management of field crews, tracking their time, and even monitoring inventory and workflow steps. This technology ensures effective communication with field service teams and facilitates data capture during their business operations. If your organization operates in industries that rely on remote crews and field services, field services software can be a powerful solution.

Project Management

Project management software is a widely used and powerful tool for effectively managing projects. It is particularly beneficial for professional services organizations and companies involved in the production of capital or fixed assets, which require extensive project management. Examples of industries that heavily rely on project management software include construction, aerospace, and defense.

Project management software goes beyond traditional tools like Microsoft Project's Gantt chart. It offers enhanced capabilities, capturing tasks, progress tracking, resource management, cost estimation, billings, inventory allocations, and other vital components of project management. It seamlessly integrates with various systems across the organization, enabling comprehensive enterprise-wide project management.

If your organization has significant project management needs, it is worth considering the leading project management systems available in the marketplace.

These are the top 10 types of business software to consider as you strive to grow and improve your business.

I would enjoy brainstorming ideas with you if you are looking to strategize an upcoming transformation or are looking at selecting an ERP system, so please feel free to contact me at eric.kimberling@thirdstage-consulting.com. I am happy to be a sounding board as you continue your digital transformation journey.

Be sure to download the newly released 2023 Digital Transformation Report to garner additional industry insight and project best practices.

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Eric Kimberling

Eric is known globally as a thought leader in the ERP consulting space. He has helped hundreds of high-profile enterprises worldwide with their technology initiatives, including Nucor Steel, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Kodak, Coors, Boeing, and Duke Energy. He has helped manage ERP implementations and reengineer global supply chains across the world.

Author:
Eric Kimberling
Eric is known globally as a thought leader in the ERP consulting space. He has helped hundreds of high-profile enterprises worldwide with their technology initiatives, including Nucor Steel, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Kodak, Coors, Boeing, and Duke Energy. He has helped manage ERP implementations and reengineer global supply chains across the world.
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