The Business Software Matrix
Tags: Accounting   CRM   Workflow   ERP   BPM  
30/12/2011 7:01 PM

In this article, we'll introduce you to the business software matrix, which consists of small business software (such as entry-level accounting applications), medium business software (such as customer relationship management applications), and large business software (such as enterprise resource management applications).

Small business software
Small business software can generally be split into two categories:

  • Low-level accounting software
  • Office suites

At the low end of the scale, you'll find entry-level accounting software which allows small businesses to manage general business accounting functions. These are inexpensive applications, but the problem with them is that they are not scalable – that is, as the business grows and adds more staff, that business will need to upgrade and transfer their data to a new system in order to cope with the added stresses.

Office suites are groups of applications that work together to improve productivity. A typical office suite will consist of a word processor, spreadsheet program, presentation program, database manager, email client, HTML editor and much more. Probably the most famous office suite is Microsoft Office, though web-based solutions such as Google Docs are also springing up.

Medium business software
Medium business software is much broader and may include:

  • Mid-level accounting software
  • Customer relationship management software
  • Human resources software
  • Outsourcing relationship management software

Mid-level accounting software can generally serve the needs of national accountancy standards and usually allows for multiple currencies to be processed. However, at this stage it's usually better to look at a more all-encompassing solution such as ERP software (discussed further on) in order to achieve the highest level of efficiency.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is focused on increased profits by automating workflow in all customer-related activities including sales, marketing, customer service and technical support. This allows for a wider and more satisfied customer base.

At a certain point, your staff will grow to a point where getting the most out of them can be critical to your overall profit margins. Human resources software or systems are those that allow for efficient and effective management of 'human capital'.

Outsourcing relationship management (ORM) software is used to manage one or more external service providers. It generally includes a management strategy for determining contractual terms, an organisational structure for building management mechanisms, and IT infrastructure to enable the monitoring and management of external service providers.

Large business software
Large business software consist of the following enterprise-level solutions:

  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software
  • Enterprise content management (ECM) software
  • Business process management (BPM) software

These applications are far more extensive in their scope and usually involve customisation with third party add-ons in order to suit the specific characteristics of an organisation. ERP software, for example, aims to eliminate inefficiencies by managing information across the entire organisation and storing it in a central database that can be accessed by all employees. Enterprise content management is similar; an organised method of storing all of your business documents.

Business process management is wide in its scope as well, but with a heavier focus on aligning all aspects of your business with the needs of its customers and clients.

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