Large companies come in a variety of shapes and forms. But to be referred to as an enterprise, a business has to have a team of hundreds or thousands of individuals. It has to run many versatile activities simultaneously and support a plethora of different roles.
- A typical enterprise comprises multiple departments at once, such as HR, marketing, financial and legal, to name a few.
- More frequently than not, it carries out operations in several geographic locations.
- And besides, its employees often collaborate across numerous time zones.
All these qualities emphasize an enterprise’s necessity for a centralized approach to process and business management. Otherwise, a large and regionally distributed company may struggle to function as a unified entity and attain the desired level of performance.
A good piece of enterprise software can readily solve this problem. Designed to cater to large businesses’ interests and needs, it offers robust and comprehensive functionality to help different professionals do their work efficiently and in a streamlined fashion. It supplies the tools for large-scale data processing and allows managers to control their whole organization with greater ease.
But since all enterprises are unique, they can’t similarly benefit from the same software product. The selection of tools will vary dramatically from one company to another, and here we described some basic rules of how to search for enterprise software and successfully find the best option for yourself.
But first, let’s explore the concept of enterprise software in a bit more depth and discuss what makes it so different from other kinds of software.
What Is Enterprise Software?
Enterprise software is a type of computer program that serves to meet the needs of a company as a whole rather than individual users / employees. Hence, we can view the business-oriented format its primary quality. Others include:
- Multifunctionality | Enterprise software comprises plenty of versatile features that many different roles and organizational units might find helpful and implement in their day-to-day work.
- Scalability | Enterprise software can be utilized by a significant or even unlimited number of users. It can process a large and increasing amount of data to give you a realistic picture of business performance as your company continues to grow.
- Robustness | To provide value for large organizations, enterprise software has to operate with faultless stability. It must impeccably run complex processes, produce high-quality outputs and cope with errors very well.
Enterprise software may have a few downsides, though: over the past decades, it has mostly been too slow, rigid and bloated. Nevertheless, with the rise of agile software development practices, present-day enterprise software is turning more intuitive and user-friendly.
Thus, many modern software products for large companies are characterized by flexibility. They allow users to easily switch off unnecessary functionality and set up the entire platform in accordance with their specific workflows and preferences. Plus, enterprise software can be customized — using an Application Programming Interface (API) or developers’ customization services — to enhance particular features and satisfy your business needs even better.
Thanks to the sharpened focus on user experience among the software development folks, the time of ugly and hard-to-use enterprise-level tools is over. You may now choose from a variety of excellent products that are as helpful in business management as they are delightful to work with.
5 Things to Take into Account When Choosing Enterprise Software for Your Company
When looking for a perfect software product and comparing the alternatives, ask yourself the questions listed below — they will provide you with the necessary guidance during the search process and help you identify the best option possible.
What are your needs?
There are many types of enterprise software on the market, and they serve to fulfill disparate purposes and support different areas of business performance. Some offer extensive functionality for HR or customer relationship management. Others can cover all your project management works or financial management needs. Yet another group of software (aka software suite) may contain a bundle of varied feature packages to help you out with virtually any task, from rigorous business analytics to routine email communication.
Considering all this diversity, you need to clearly know what you want from your software. Which organizational processes and operations do you wish to automate with its assistance? Which kinds of data do you expect it to produce?
For instance, if project management and work monitoring are your primary concerns, you may benefit from adopting such software as actiTIME. It combines straightforward time tracking functionality with such useful features as productivity reports, billing summaries, the Kanban board and automated notifications. All together, they foster effortless project progress management. And besides, they allow streamlining some routine tasks in HR and accounting departments while also providing a depth of information on team performance and project outcomes for managers and executives.
As you can see, focusing on one or a few of your specific needs during the selection process is not so limiting as it may seem. Even in this case, a good piece of enterprise software will still generate immense value for your entire business. And moreover, a priority-based approach to software adoption will prevent you from purchasing a product with unnecessary features that you won’t ever use.
Which tools do you already use?
In the best-case scenario, a new piece of enterprise software will not duplicate the features of any tools you already implement. Otherwise, you’ll end up with functionality that nobody needs.
So, if you don’t plan to replace all the apps you utilize now with a single piece of software, make sure it doesn’t contain anything similar to the tools you have in use. Instead, give your preference to software that supports integration with your apps — such a solution will help you streamline organization-wide workflows even further and foster an additional efficiency boost.
Who will use your piece of software?
Regionally distributed and remote team members work with highly diverse technologies. And as there’s no equipment uniformity in their case, it’s vital to make sure that software of your choice can cope with this issue well and can be installed on and accessed through multiple computer systems and devices, including tablets and smartphones.
Besides, the more people are going to apply your enterprise software daily, the easier-to-use it must be. Getting familiar with complex and advanced apps usually eats up a lot of time, so it will likely be hard to integrate them across the company. Unless you’re totally certain in your staff’s tech-savviness, go for an intuitive and simple solution.
How secure is this software?
These days, all software providers abide by various data protection laws. But since data breaches and hacker risks are a big deal for large companies, it’s worth paying extra attention to the matter of software security.
The least you can do is to give preference to software providers that employ the latest data security technologies at their premises and have no history of compromised data integrity. Such providers practice excellent programming techniques. They use advanced firewalls and intrusion detection systems to keep customers’ information safe.
Is it cost-effective?
Unlike the majority of small businesses, large enterprises are not so constrained in financial resources and can afford to invest in the best piece of software to date. However, expensive doesn’t always mean outstanding or excellent. First and foremost, a software product of your choice must produce real value for your business and be effective in fulfilling everything it’s intended for.
Therefore, prior to committing to a piece of enterprise software for the long term, be sure to test it through and through during a free trial period that most software developers readily provide. Observing a product in action — even for just a week or two — is the only way to understand if it will deliver on the promise and is worth your investment.