The bigger a business gets, the more diverse its software needs become. Enterprise software solutions are an efficient way to hasten workflows and to reduce human error. With the right program, productivity and workflow visibility can be increased, leading to a boost in revenue.
Many types of solutions are offered as enterprise-level software. Options are available to streamline various departments and processes, whether it be accounting or customer relationship management. Some of these systems, like ERP software, can even be integrated or centralized depending on your company’s unique needs. In this article, we’ll explore what exactly enterprise-level software is, explore some of the different types of these systems and look at some of the benefits that businesses can reap from these solutions.
What Is Enterprise Software?
Enterprise software is a type of program that is used by businesses that are defined as enterprises. Pretty obvious, right? When we think of enterprises, we consider companies that are large and often have international operations. Businesses of this size typically have unique needs that differentiate their software requirements from those of small businesses. After all, the local boutique shop likely doesn’t have to deal with global currency conversions. There are a wide variety of software solutions for large corporations available on the market today that help improve operational productivity and generate more revenue.
Different software vendors specialize in developing programs for companies of various sizes, so it’s essential that when looking for a system for your enterprise that you’re upfront about the size and scope of your business. This will help alleviate the amount of time that you spend sorting through options that aren’t optimal for your enterprise’s needs.
What Makes Enterprise Software Different from Other Solutions?
When looking at software solutions, you might come across programs that aren’t intended for use by enterprises. Some of these different software solutions may be aimed toward individuals or smaller organizations, which means that their scope and functionality is likely different from that of enterprise software vendors. Enterprise solution software vendors typically try to emphasize features such as support for multiple locations, different currencies and regulatory standards from various countries.
There are a lot of moving pieces involved with enterprises, so a dynamic and powerful software solution is essential when looking for a program that adheres to these requirements. Some software types are available primarily for enterprises or other business uses, and individual programs are not readily available.
For example, an individual more than likely wouldn’t need an ERP system, meaning that because there is no demand or need for an individual-based ERP, it isn’t present on the market. On the other hand, ERP is widely used across enterprises because it centralizes workflows and data, which is especially useful for large companies. Because the needs of individuals and small companies vary from those of enterprises, the breadth and type of features included in enterprise solution software differ from those offered for smaller organizations.
What Software Categories Are Commonly Used by Enterprises, and What Do They Do?
A wide variety of vendors offering a range of software categories provide solutions for the unique needs of enterprise-level organizations. Here are some of the solution types that are available for enterprises looking to streamline operations.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
ERP software is a tool that takes various processes related to accounting, supply chain and inventory and manages them in a centralized location where data can be shared, and workflows can be automated. Think of it like ordering multiple options from a buffet rather than going with a single dish. It has always been an effective option for enterprises, but as technology becomes more accessible, many SMBs have opted to install ERP software as well.
Many of the functions offered in ERP solutions are also available as standalone software, but the key benefit of ERP is the connection of different workflows and an increase in visibility of overall operations. Some of the features often included in ERP are:
- Financial management
- Supply chain management
- Inventory management
- Distribution and shipping
- Customer relationship management
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRM software is an effective method of cultivating leads, supporting clients and increasing customer retention. It’s a great way to build relationships and personalize sales tactics to generate revenue. After all, positive customer relationships and primed sales tactics are the beating heart of every company. Here are some of the common features that you can find in CRM solutions:
- Marketing and campaign management
- Lead management
- Client interaction tracking
- Contact management
- Sales automation
- Database management
Accounting software contains a range of financial management tools that streamline the process of completing transactions and processing monetary information. A big issue that enterprises come across when conducting financial operations is consolidating information from across different departments, projects and sub-businesses. Accounting vendors that are skilled in working with large companies will offer a means to centralize and automate financial processes from across an organization. Accounting software commonly includes the following features:
- Accounts payable
- Accounts receivable
- General ledger
- Project accounting
- Fixed assets
- Tax reporting
Enterprise Asset Management (EAM)
EAM software enable companies to keep track of all of the physical assets that they own along with managing asset lifecycles. The goal of this system is to boost revenue by maximizing the lifespan of your assets. This can be done by keeping track of tasks such as necessary maintenance and compliance standards. Some of the specific features offered in EAM systems include:
- Inventory management
- Asset lifecycle management
- Vehicle maintenance
- Maintenance management
- Work orders
- Materials management
- Maintain, repair and overhaul (MRO)
Business Intelligence (BI)
Business intelligence is a tool that’s used to help organizations develop actionable insights quickly. These systems often use data streams from areas such as sales, marketing and manufacturing to help identify areas for improvement. Visualization capabilities, customizable dashboards and templated reports are some of the main components that are often included in these systems. Here are some additional functions to look out for in business intelligence tools:
- Data visualization
- Document management
- Decision services
- Online analytical processing (OLAP)
- Big data integration
Supply Chain Management (SCM)
Supply chain management is a way to keep an eye on and facilitate the production process from the time an order comes in until the time a package arrives on a customer’s doorstep. These tools can control operations such as sales order management, manufacturing management, materials ordering, distribution management and machine management. supply chain management software often contains the following features:
- Supply chain monitoring
- Supply chain planning
- Supply chain analytics
- Transportation/logistics management
- Warehouse management
- Sourcing and procurement
- Supplier management
- Order processing
- Inventory management
Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)
PLM is a helpful tool for enterprises to use as they go through the product design lifecycle. It provides a centralized location for employees to view designs and make changes that can then be reflected throughout the entirety of the lifecycle. Product lifecycle management solutions are effective at making sure everyone remains on the same page and ensuring all necessary compliance and design steps are conducted. Some specific features of PLM software are:
- Document management
- BOM management
- Configuration management
- CAD file management
- Regulatory compliance
- Project management
- Portfolio management
- Component management
What Are the Benefits of Using Enterprise Software Solutions?
The benefits of using software are diverse and vary depending on the specific solution that you go with. However, there are some general positives associated with enterprise application solutions due to factors such as automation and the streamlining of operations. Here are some of the main benefits to expect from enterprise software systems.
One of the most prominent benefits of implementing an enterprise software solution is an increase in productivity. Many programs offer some automation functionality, whether it be instantly reconciling finances or constantly updating real-time data visualizations. By conducting processes without the need for human intervention, employee time can be spent on other tasks that they wouldn’t otherwise have time for.
Development of Actionable Insights
Many enterprise programs include data visualizations or custom reporting to help businesses perform useful analyses. This may consist of charts, graphs or documents that contain information on important KPIs. Some of the processes that might be visualized through reports include on-time delivery rates, accounts receivable and customer retention. By knowing the data behind these important business processes and identifying bottlenecks within internal workflows, your business can improve its probability of success and efficiency.
Maintaining your customers and clients is an essential facet of any successful business. Obviously attracting new customers is another key component for companies, but the benefits of emphasizing customer retention don’t lie.
A Harvard Business Review study found that a 5% increase in customer retention can increase revenue numbers by 25–95%, whereas acquiring new customers is 5–25 times more expensive than working to retain people who have already made purchases in the past. CRM software is an especially beneficial solution for boosting retention and finding new leads, but other programs such as ERP software may contain some of this functionality as well.
Every company can benefit from generating more profits. Many enterprise-level software solutions have the ultimate goal of helping businesses take the steps needed to boost revenue. For example, business intelligence programs provide visualization of operational bottlenecks, assisting companies with the identification of areas for improvement and ultimately generating more money.
Product lifecycle management software helps ensure all employees are on the same page when it comes to product design while verifying that products are created accurately and according to regulatory compliance. This can help reduce the amount of discarded or scrapped materials that a company produces.
Less Manual Error
Error caused by manual data input can greatly reduce productivity and require employees to spend valuable time cleaning up the system. Enterprise software systems kick manual error to the curb through automation. By automating the movement and acquisition of data, there’s a decreased chance that typos or duplicate entries will make it into your system. This helps improve the accuracy of insights and lessens the amount of time that employees spend doing quality checks.
Is an Enterprise Software Solution Right for My Business?
When deciding whether it’s time for your enterprise to implement a new software system, you should consider a few factors. Some elements to keep in mind are your operating budget, the number of users who will benefit from the implementation, and the functionality needed from your solution. If you have enough capital to invest in a new system and can justify the implementation of the program, then enterprise solutions software is a great investment to make.
There is a diverse range of vendors and solutions available that can be tailored to meet unique business needs. Whether it be a simple accounting solution or an expansive ERP program, there are multiple options available on the market that are likely to meet your company’s specific must-haves. The big task is finding the right vendor for you. That’s why we at SelectHub have built requirements templates to help people like you find the solution that’s best for your business. Not sure which type of software is even right for your company? Our team is ready to help! Give us a call at 877-692-2896 or send an email to [email protected] for a personalized solution recommendation based on your requirements.