Businesses are continually adapting to new forms of technology. Although many advances have added layers of complexity to operations as customer demands have become more complex, a number of developments have managed to make the everyday lives of companies much simpler. Perhaps then, it is no surprise that the worldwide “software as a service” market alone is expected to grow by 41 per cent a year between 2008 and 2015.
Many firms think about hefty license fees and lengthy installation processes when they consider new systems, but not everything has to be stored internally. A number of web-based systems can play a vital role in cutting costs and workloads while increasing productivity, providing valuable services at relatively low cost. Here are a few of the most important types of online business software.
Online accounting software can automate many of the financial processes on which hours are wasted every month, from creating quotes and generating invoices to automatically making frequent purchases at intervals and informing suppliers when they’ve been paid. Bank accounts, supplier details and accounts received and payable can all be stored in a single place – and crucially, data can be transferred between them quickly and effectively. For small businesses in particular, this is a must-have.
Allowing data to be stored in a secure, offsite location so it can be accessed and used from anywhere in the world, cloud computing is essential for facilitating collaboration across different functions and even between companies. Cloud services such as Google Drive and products from a number of other providers allow users around the world to work on the same document, spreadsheet or presentation at once, saving time that would otherwise be spent sending edits from place to place. This technology also facilitates remote working, a trend which is likely to revolutionise the work landscape.
Businesses that organise regular conferences and other events can often find themselves spending hours collecting the details of attendees, transferring them to different places and sending out confirmations. Fortunately, event booking software can speed up and streamline the whole process.
Not only does it ensure a quick and simple sign-up process for delegates who can move from a marketing email to payment in a few short clicks, it also automatically captures the details of your attendees and can send reminder emails as appropriate, drastically cutting workloads and costs. Some delegate registration systems even integrate into other event planning systems such as table booking software, saving valuable time exporting information to new systems. Find out more here.
Face-to-face meetings are not always going to be possible, in spite of their many advantages. In order to avoid travel, accommodation and venue costs, a large proportion of firms are using teleconferencing more often. It involves a relatively simple and inexpensive set-up – an internet connection, microphone and webcam – but still allows free and easy conversation between parties that may be on opposite sides of the globe. In circumstances where it is not possible to discuss issues in person, video conferencing is often much easier than sending a large chain of emails back and forth.