Home Business Streamlining Your Business: Are You Using the Right Software to Keep Things Moving Smoothly?

Streamlining Your Business: Are You Using the Right Software to Keep Things Moving Smoothly?

by Olufisayo
Are You Using the Right Software to Keep Things Moving Smoothly

Choosing the right software for your business is an amazing opportunity to not only streamline the processes involved, getting things moving smoothly, and optimizing the workflow, but also to broaden your horizons and get on with the times. Nowadays, the technology we have available can truly make things fun and transform boring and long-winded processes from an ordinary chore to something that’s at least borderline enjoyable.

One of the most interesting ways to do this is to read information articles, view online courses and similar. In fact, investing just a little bit of your time in viewing online software demonstrations accomplishes a very powerful thing; it allows you to get a taste of what’s out there without having to spend a dime.

But what to search for when you aren’t even familiar with the scope of software that’s out there? By the end of this article, you’ll probably have more ideas than your time allows you to research. On with the first one!

Are You Using the Right Software to Keep Things Moving Smoothly

Cloud storage and file synchronization

Cloud storage is a new way to not only store and backup your files, but also to keep them synchronized across various different devices.

       

Let’s imagine a typical workplace scenario: the project manager sends out a brief to everyone, then realizes a mistake or a typo has found its way in there. The old way of doing things would likely involve letting everyone know about it through email and send the updated file as an attachment.

Modern cloud storage solutions like Dropbox, Google Drive, etc., were designed to make things easier. There are now also cloud solutions that are tailored for specific departments within a company. For instance there is DAM software for marketing departments where all content can be stored, and by using it as the default file synchronization tool, all the project manager would need to do is to update the file, click ‘save’, sit back and relax while the correct version of the file gets transferred to the employees’ devices without lifting a finger. That way, you effectively eliminate the chances of someone not receiving the email which contains the updated file (or failing to notice it altogether).

Even though some would argue this introduces a new cyber security risk to the company (and to some degree, this is a valid argument), most modern cloud storage providers take the privacy and security of their users very seriously. Try to look at it this way – not having a recent backup of your files can be absolutely devastating if your computer or smart device stops working (or gets misplaced) and you lose access to the file system. With a cloud storage solution, this will never be a problem, since you’ll always be able to get a copy of your files from an online server.

Project management and time tracking

In the recent times, psychologists and work-process analytics have been working hard to come up with a way to help us use our time in a more productive manner. While some still swear by the good old-fashioned chalkboard with a to-do list written on it, others are embracing the digital side of things by discovering the project management and time tracking solutions.

Asana and Trello are two popular examples you’ll often see the companies use on a massive scale. While there are some notable differences between them, the basic idea is to provide an easy-to-manage way of assigning tasks to others, so the members of your team can see the status of each project and communicate with each other. The calendar view some of these software solutions enable is a good way to get an overview of who needs to do what and also state any deadlines that need to be followed.

       

These tools are also a fantastic way to track the amount of time someone has spent working on a certain project. If you’re working with people who charge you by the hour, this is certainly an important tool in your arsenal.

Automation

Automaton is a wonderful way to make things fun again. Nearly every company out there needs to rely on a rigid and monotonous process in order get things done. Whether it be tracking time, checking supplies, sending out notifications, communicating with employees… the main idea is the same. So if you know you’re going to be spending a lot of time on trivialities and things that can easily be automated, by automating them, you will be able to allocate more time towards growing your business, optimizing it, developing new products, etc.

Simply put, anything that follows a predictable pattern can be automated, even if the variables change in the process. For example, let’s say that you need to upload a certain document to the server every single day. You know the target location, you know the login credentials, you know the time this is scheduled to happen… with the only variable being the filename. With the help of system automation tools like Winautomation and AutoIt, the scenario described above can be perfectly automated down to the last detail. You can even set the script to automatically launch itself every day without the need for human interaction.

If you’re an online marketer, you’ve probably heard of marketing automation that’s often used in email marketing. In other words, every single time a new person opts in to your email list, you can order the software to send out an introductory email, then follow it up with a pre-defined mailing sequence containing pre-written content. This is one of the most powerful ways you can stay in touch with your potential customers without investing energy and time into it (after the initial work of setting it all up is done, of course).

Custom software solutions

Every company is different, there’s no doubt about it. Still, no matter what industry you’re working in, you will need to come up with creative ways to solve everyday challenges. Anything that helps you save money or time is beneficial, because – at the end of the day – the bottom line is what makes all the difference.

       

With this in mind, recognizing the power of custom-tailored solutions like the ones you can learn more about at InterSoftAssociates.com will bring you to a whole new level of flexibility. In the past, you would need to hire a team of specialized developers to be able to code a custom-tailored solution, which takes time and money. First of all, you need to do a good job at explaining what exactly it is that you’re looking for, then you have to keep paying money to cover their rather expensive hourly rates, and even then, it’s impossible to know how long the development process is going to take.

Luckily, there is an alternative. Nowadays, there are more companies specializing in developing custom software solutions than you can count. What differentiates them from regular developers is that they, for the most part, have a proven track record of working with business owners just like you. This means they’re naturally able to adapt to your needs, as well as set reasonable expectations and deadlines. At the end of the process, you’ll have a powerful piece of software available for internal use, which could be just the thing you need to gain a massive edge over your competition.

A quick word on open-source software

If you’re a Linux user (or if you’re simply looking for new ways to save money in your company), going for the open-source software is a great way to use excellent free tools instead of having to pay for the expensive corporate software licenses.

For example, instead of using Microsoft Word, why not use Libre Office?

Or Gimp instead of Photoshop?

       

No matter what you do, make sure you’re familiar with how to use them prior to making the switch. Although it’s generally true that open-source alternatives like the ones we’ve mentioned have come a long way to imitate the functionality and usefulness of paid software, there’s still somewhat of a catch.

While you can expect to receive a top of the line customer support with your paid software, by using free open-source software, you’re often on your own. The situation is not hopeless, as there are plenty of community resources available for you to tap into, and you can always hire an expect to help you out if all else fails. But it’s definitely something to keep in mind.

If you know that you’re going to need a lot of support (especially when you’re just learning the ropes), counting on the free support and 24/7 availability that you often get with a corporate license could be just the thing you need to go about your business without too many disruptions.

In an extreme scenario, you could also make a decision to use the Linux operating system on all the in-house computers to avoid having to pay for an expensive Microsoft Windows corporate license, for example. If you’re comfortable with using an alternative (and most of your workers are as well), then this could be a very efficient way to cut down the cost of your operations.

Conclusion

Using the right software starts with you and your unique challenges and needs. Hopefully, today’s article has given you a ton of new software ideas to try out, some of which are completely free to use. By playing around with some of them, even for a brief period of time, you can come up with new and inventive ways of saving money and making things more fun and time-efficient in your company.

       

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