What is business management software?

Business management software describes systems and applications designed as end-to-end solutions to support, manage, and automate business functions.

For smaller businesses that are just getting started, managing clients and business processes can be fairly straightforward. Individual programs and tools are brought in to address specific needs, and it’s generally not overly difficult to keep track of each of these solutions. However, when those same businesses begin to scale up, things can quickly become complicated. With increased complexity comes exponential increases in administrator workloads, leading to inefficiencies, inaccuracies, and burnout.

Business management software may provide the answer. By bringing multiple, disparate applications together under a single suite, and by introducing advanced automation capabilities to essential business workflows, administrators can more effectively manage different areas of their business, such as finance, operations, people, etc.

Because business management software is designed to support a range of industries and bring many kinds of solutions together under a single umbrella, there is no single business management solution that is the perfect fit for every use case. Instead, it’s important that individual businesses be aware of their own needs when choosing a business management solution, and also aware of what their options are. The following are common examples of different types of business management software:

Accounting

Accounting business management software is designed to help administrators oversee vital financial data. The software should be capable of connecting with individual financial modules to manage inventory, purchase orders, and other relevant tasks. This type of business management generally also includes financial reporting in the form of balance sheets, cash-flow statements, profit and loss reports, etc.

Graphic outlining the capabilities of business management software.

Content management

Content management relates to essential documents within a business. Content management systems exist to allow companies to more effectively and securely upload, access, retrieve, share, and back up files and documentation. This may apply to any documents used within a business, from employee W2s, to purchase orders, to contracts, and more.

CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are organizational tools for tracking, recording, and coordinating customer interactions, with the goal of streamlining services and improving customer value. Although many businesses rely heavily on CRM, in truth this kind of system is best suited to sales and marketing efforts; customer service management (CSM) picks up where CRM leaves off, providing a completely unified view of how customers are engaging with the enterprise as a whole.

HR

Human resource (HR) management addresses processes and solutions relevant to company personnel and may also be used to manage contractors and third-party vendors. This form of business management includes employee scheduling and hour tracking, payroll, and benefits administration.

Resource management

Resource management is a broad category of business management software that includes HR management, along with asset management and inventory management. Along with employees, resource management also tracks and coordinates finances, technologies, raw materials, and any other finite resources that may need to be scheduled, allocated, distributed, and accounted for.

Marketing and sales

Marketing automation, lead generation, email marketing, social media management, and marketing/sales analytics all fall into the category of marketing and sales management. This kind of software employs automation to nurture and track prospective customers through the sales pipeline, and to help sales teams locate and close new leads.

Reporting and analytics

Although reporting and analytics are often included as essential parts of other business management solutions, this particular category is also worth mentioning individually. Reporting and analytics systems track vital metrics, incorporate important business intelligence to analyze data and present valuable insights using dashboards, and flag any potential problem areas that may arise.

Project management

Project management is used to coordinate, control, and automate business workflows. Project management may incorporate automated notifications, time tracking, and task assignments.

Business management software is designed to fulfil a broad spectrum of management tasks. As such, the possible benefits it brings to the table may be just as varied as its functionality. More generally speaking, however, business management software offers the following advantages:

Single, unified system

Possibly the primary benefit of business management software is that it allows organizations to control a full range of business applications from a centralized hub. Instead of having to handle different controls, interfaces, passwords, and vendors to address ongoing business needs, companies can enjoy a simplified management solution coordinated through a single system. Any updates made to the software or relevant data are reflected across all connected applications.

Optimal coordination

Business management doesn’t only bring together tools and solutions; it also brings together departments. Everyone involved has direct access to a single platform and a single source of data truth, facilitating improved communication and coordination on projects, strategies, and results.

Increased data accuracy

By implementing effective automation solutions across all connected applications, organizations may significantly reduce errors. This increased data accuracy not only helps prevent costly mistakes, but also gives businesses more trustworthy datasets on which to review performance, evaluate projects, and build strategy.

Improved efficiency

Process automation allows companies to accomplish more, while applying fewer resources (such as money, time, or employees). In other words, when built on effective automation technologies, business management software can be a reliable solution for businesses hoping to get more out of their investments.

Although business management software provides real value by bringing together relevant applications and tools under a single system of control, it is not necessarily a one-size-fits-all solution. Organizations that are in the market for business management software should be keenly aware of their needs and should take the time to evaluate their options before making any sort of commitment.

Consider the following factors:

Deployment options

When it comes to the deployment of business management software, businesses have a few options. Choosing a cloud-based solution will allow the business to take full advantage of the functionality of the software, without having to take responsibility for installations, setup, maintenance, repair, updating, or security. On the other hand, an on-premises solution gives businesses more freedom in choosing exactly how they manage their business functions, but also makes them solely responsible for managing and securing the software itself.

Integration capabilities

Given the complexity of modern business, many organizations will need more capabilities from their business management software than may be available out of the box. If this is the case, these organizations should prioritize business management solutions that can easily integrate with stand-alone applications, and that allow for a tailored approach.

Industry-specific solutions

Although each business is unique, businesses that operate within the same industries often share the same basic requirements. As a result, there are several business management software options that are built to cater specifically to certain industries. Companies may wish to begin their search within their industry, before branching out to other possibilities.

Business size

Finally, organizations should consider their own size, as well as the projected growth, when investing in business management software. Generally, the larger, more complex the business, the more controls, automation, and alignment between technologies and data they will need to function efficiently. On the other hand, smaller businesses will likely be able to operate effectively with standard business management software.

As businesses grow, their capacity for managing clients and business processes may not be able to keep up. The right tools and resources can help bridge this gap, but business management software is only the beginning. For true scalability and agility, organizations around the world are turning to Strategic Portfolio Management (SPM) from ServiceNow.

ServiceNow’s SPM is a set of philosophies, capabilities, and processes brought together and supported by integrated technologies, and designed to connect strategy, delivery, and business outcomes. Built on the powerful Now Platform®, SPM brings together data insights from every aspect of the business, so teams always have accurate and up-to-date information to help guide their decisions.

Access relevant data at the click of a button. Track releases in real time and from a single, central location. Optimize and automate complex processes. Complete more projects in less time. Communicate plans with stakeholders and enjoy a single source of truth across the entire organization. Place vital work in the proper strategic context. Coordinate, collaborate, and connect like never before. It’s all possible, with Strategic Portfolio Management from ServiceNow.

From day-to-day work to major strategic initiatives, ServiceNow’s SPM gives you the ability to take business management software further than ever before.

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