Successful companies have begun to recognize that a strong investment in technology can lead to better business outcomes. According to a study by Investment News, financially successful firms allocate 11.3% of their resources to technology, compared to 9.4% for all other firms.
Specifically, technology is most commonly being leveraged to solve complex business problems related to management, customer support, advertising, and decision-making. And companies are turning toward the following four software tools for help:
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
Thanks to cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions, many organizations have been able to realize strong efficiency gains in operational and back-office tasks that once would have taken dozens of employees and a number of different systems to operate.
Microsoft, which produces some of the most popular ERP software, has identified the most common functions where ERP software can improve efficiency:
- Financial management – Improve visibility and control over company assets, cash flow, and accounting
- Supply chain and operations management – Streamline your purchasing, manufacturing, inventory, and sales-order processing
- Customer relationship management – Improve customer service, and increase cross-sell and upsell opportunities
- Project management – Get what you need to deliver work on time and on budget with better billing and project monitoring
- Human resources management – Attract and retain good employees with tools that help you hire, manage, and pay your team
- Business intelligence – Make smart decisions with easy-to-use reporting and analytics tools
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems
While ERP systems focus on business operations, CRM software is focused externally on a company’s customers. The goal of a CRM system is to create a comprehensive customer database that can be used to increase sales, improve customer retention, and make customer relations easy and more efficient by offering an individualized experience for every user.
CRM platforms like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM provide a number of marketing, sales and service automation capabilities that allow teams to continually monitor and improve customer satisfaction and support. These systems are capable of capturing a nearly infinite amount of customer data, which can be used to refine and individualize any number of marketing offers and sales pitches.
You’ve probably heard the term “Big Data” a time or two, but what does it really mean? All the way back in 2010, Google’s Eric Schmidt estimated that humanity was already producing more data every day than our species had created in the entirety of our history up to 2003. That’s roughly 2.5 quintillion bytes of data according to IBM, which shows you why we all started talking about Big Data. But the size of this vast ocean of data is also the very problem: companies struggle to understand what data is important and how to act on it in order to drive measurable business results.
The solution? Analytics.
Defined by Wikipedia as the discovery, interpretation, and communication of meaningful patterns in data, Analytics has become an essential tool for all manner of businesses that are looking to more strategically invest their resources. Marketers are no doubt familiar with Google Analytics, but analytics tools extend to areas such as behavioral analytics software that can be used to assess potential job candidates, educational analytics that can help improve education, and predictive analytics that search for signals about where a particular market may be going.
Without data, it can be difficult to pinpoint areas of concern or evaluate business performance. An analytics suite helps organizations chart a course in an increasingly competitive ocean.
Going hand-in-hand with analytics is the next generation of computing: artificial intelligence. Designed to learn from interactions over time and refine their relevance and utility, artificial intelligences are popping up everywhere from your car to your phone to your customer support hotline. These software suites parse data at a much higher rate than a human ever could, making them ideal for quickly helping with routine tasks such as setting up calendars all the way to working on complex problems such as mathematical equations that might take many human lifetimes to unravel.
In the real world, companies are using artificial intelligences to augment their support teams and provide early self-service to customers. These tools have the ability to grow and improve their utility with their users, which will make them the ideal co-pilot for a number of business interactions.
Do you need to know how to leverage technology to address business problems within your organization? The Clearing provides the necessary support during IT transformations to address the human side of IT transformation, including change management, communication support, program and project management. Contact The Clearing to discuss your needs.