Enterprise software, also known as enterprise application software (EAS), is purpose-designed computer software used to satisfy the needs of an organization ...
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An enterprise application is the term used to describe applications -- or software - - that a business would use to assist the organization in solving enterprise ...
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InformationWeek's news, analysis and advice on enterprise software. ERP, productivity, collaboration and social business apps, plus Windows 8.
Enterprise software gives businesses the tools needed to run more efficiently. A business can use enterprise software to process orders, collect payment online, automate customer or client billing, and integrate various applications. It can help a business in any department from information technology to human resources.
Before purchasing enterprise software, a business needs to evaluate several issues. For example, a business needs to look at the potential benefits and determine if those benefits outweigh the cost of implementing enterprise software. A business should also look at the potential pitfalls and decide if implementing this software is worth the risk. Lastly, budget concerns should also be evaluated.
Benefits of Using Enterprise Software for Your Business
The exact benefits you get from enterprise software depend on the type of software you purchase or have made. Some of the benefits also depend on the services you want to offer for your business. However, almost every business can benefit from enterprise software in at least one way.
Around the Clock Sales
According to Plunkett Research, Ltd., approximately $150 billion in online sales transactions occurred in 2008. This shows that regardless of what products or services your business offers, you can likely benefit from around-the-clock sales capabilities of enterprise software. Even if your company offers services or goods that must be custom billed, your potential clients can still create an order online through the software and then a representative from your company can call the customer back with a quote.
Automatic Billing Options
Enterprise software gives you the capability to automatically bill customers for your services or goods. This makes it easier to bill for subscription services or payment plans. Some enterprise software programs give you the capability to automatically charge a customer’s credit card. This is useful for businesses, such as insurance companies, law firms, doctor’s offices, or collection agencies, as well as other businesses.
Interactive Sales Catalogs
An interactive sales catalog is ideal for businesses that offer a large variety of products. These catalogs let your potential customers search for the exact item needed. For example, if you sell auto parts, an interactive catalog lets your customers search your inventory based on the make, model, year and other features of the vehicle. Some enterprise software will even auto-post to online auction websites, which increases your company’s exposure.
With some enterprise software, you will be able to accept applications, resumes and other hiring forms online. This can lead qualified applicants to your company. If these applicants don’t live in your area, you may find some that are willing to move to your location if the employment package is attractive.
Many enterprise software packages include the capability to integrate an online customer support system. This allows you to handle customer’s questions and problems online instead of having to develop an on-site customer support program.
Enterprise software is used in business and is an important part of a computer information system. Enterprise software can provide your business with tools such as IT services, online payment processing, automated billing systems and more. The software is developed for your specific business needs. Despite the importance of this tool, there are several pitfalls associated with it.
Geared Toward Large Organizations
Although enterprise software targets both large and small organizations, it is usually far too complicated for smaller businesses. Even larger companies have reported finding the software complex. Due to the complicated nature of enterprise software, simpler solutions may be more appropriate for smaller businesses. Otherwise, you will have the added expense of paying for internal support for software you cannot fully use.
When purchasing enterprise software, you need to customize it to suit the needs and interests of your business. However, supporting and building these customizations can sometimes puzzle even the most experienced developer. This can cause major delays and extra costs, making a negative financial impact on your business inevitable. Such customization usually has a limited life due to an imposed deadline by the vendor, which means that upgrades and customizations become regular expenses.
Poor Match to Your Business Requirements
Enterprise software appears to thrive in sectors such as HR and finance, meaning businesses outside of these areas may have problems. While customization will help the software meet your business requirements to some degree, you may still need to look into possible add-ons and work-arounds.
Poor Configuration and Flexibility
While older enterprise software packages appear to be the most inflexible, it remains a problem with newer versions. Companies have complained that the work tools provided do not configure with their systems. Intense complaints also surround the inflexibility of the software, with many declaring it ineffective, expensive and disruptive to their businesses.
Types of Software and Costs
Enterprise software varies in cost, depending on the type needed for your business. If you need performance maintenance, for instance, Epicor software ranges between $4,000 and $500,000, or more. Similar programs may be more or less, so it’s important to look at everything available to you.
According to the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nationwide median salary of the billing analyst is $32,170. Entry-level salaries for new or inexperienced employees average $22,250. Your company may be paying one or more people to work with the enterprise software you choose. Depending on how many employees you have, your costs may add up rapidly with training and salaries.
Enterprise software can save a business time and money; however, it does not come without potential risks and expenses. Enterprise software can help a business receive and process orders around the clock, automatically charge a customer’s credit card either at the point of sale or on a specific date, make a product catalog searchable, hire online, and handle customer support online. The potential risks of enterprise software include being too complex for the needs of a smaller business, customization can create delays that lose money, problems with configuration and inflexibility that make the software ineffective and disruptive to a business.
Enterprise software is designed to be used by business and industry. It provides different applications than software that is normally used by individuals for use in their home computer systems.
Enterprise software includes programs for handing online payments and billing. Tools for setting up an online sales business and tracking inventory are other examples of these programs. Enterprise software is not normally found free, individual programs or bundles are usually purchased.
Software programs are available that are designed to help specific industries. A CAD program is the type of software needed by architects and drafting professionals. Software is available for use in the health care industry. Medical billing can become more efficient when geared for medical use. Programs are available to meet general business requirements as well. Many organizations can benefit from quality accounting systems and payroll applications.
Enterprise software also includes programs designed to help entrepreneurs develop their own website presence. While photo-editing programs are available for consumers, software designed for business use will provide more functionality. Anti-virus programs used by industry should also be the highest quality possible. Programs found online at no cost will not provide full security for businesses.
Using the right enterprise software can greatly improve your daily work processes. Check the links available on Business.com to see the many programs available.
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