Selecting the Best Software for Your Business [Use-Cases + Criteria]

Selecting a new software for your business? Read this guide first to learn more about the features and criteria you should look for! We'll cover a broad range of application software.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. What is an application software?

  1. Commercial software
  2. Shareware
  3. Freeware
  4. Open-source software
  5. Web application
  6. Software as a Service (SaaS)

2. What is an enterprise software?

3. What should we consider in selecting an enterprise software?

  1. Business management software
  2. Customer relationship management software
  3. Database management software
  4. Marketing automation software

4. Conclusion

Table of contents
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3

1. What is an application software?

  1. Commercial software
  2. Shareware
  3. Freeware
  4. Open-source software
  5. Web application
  6. Software as a Service (SaaS)

2. What is an enterprise software?

3. What should we consider in selecting an enterprise software?

  1. Business management software
  2. Customer relationship management software
  3. Database management software
  4. Marketing automation software

4. Conclusion

8-minute read

If you are starting your business, it is essential for you to spend some time looking for the best application software for your business to use. In your mind, a good application software should help bring more value to your business by making it easier to complete necessary tasks. 

That is correct! But, a key question remains...

How can you select the best software out there to help you? 

This guide is written specifically to help you in selecting the business software to use. We begin by discussing the various forms the application software is distributed, and then we go to discussion of the features that certain types of business software should have. 

Are you ready?

What is an application software?

A lot of applications are offered as part of a package or a suite, often with related applications serving the same set of users.
A lot of applications are offered as part of a package or a suite, often with related applications serving the same set of users. (Image Source)

According to Wikipedia, an application software, often called an application or app, is a kind of software designed for end users. Applications require an existing operating system to run on a computer. 

The purpose and functions of applications are diverse. Some of them are included in the following list:

  • Productivity enhancement, such as word processors and spreadsheet software
  • Enterprise applications, such as customer relationship and supply chain management
  • Content access, such as media players and web browsers
  • Technical applications, such as numerical computing environments and computer-aded design (CAD)
  • Delivering education, such as learning management system 
  • Media development, such as video editors and photo editors
  • Entertainment, such as computer games

Applications can be offered in the following ways:

Commercial software

A lot of applications are sold commercially and need to be bought in order to use them. Once bought, the user can use them as long as the software still works. They are called commercial software.

The access is often sold in the form of licenses that can be installed on a single computer or to a certain number of computers. An example is the Microsoft Office Suite. (Techopedia)

Shareware

Some software makers and distributors offer a free trial of the full features of its applications, where it will revert to a basic version once the time is up and the user decides not to buy full access to its features. They are called shareware. (Indiana University)

Freeware

Some applications can be downloaded and used for free. They are called freeware. The user, however, may only use it for personal and non-commercial use. (Indiana University)

Open-source software

Some programmers make the decision to offer the source code used in creating their applications open for access by anyone. The application created using the source code available for access is called open-source software.

A significant portion of the open-source software includes a free license for the user to modify it and distribute the modifications themselves. This is called free and open-source software, where free is often defined as “free as in free speech and not free beer”. (It’s FOSS)

Web application

A growing class of applications is hosted in the cloud instead of being offered as downloadable software that can be installed to the desktop or laptop, thus only making them available online. They are called web applications. An example of cloud-based software is Google Sheets. (Webopedia)

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Other web applications can be accessed through a subscription model, where you can only use them as long as you continue paying the monthly subscription fee. This is popularly known as software as a service (SaaS). One example of SaaS is the Adobe Creative Cloud. (Webopedia)


What is an enterprise software?

One important feature of enterprise software nowadays is their ability to gain insights from the large amounts of data they process.
One important feature of enterprise software nowadays is their ability to gain insights from the large amounts of data they process. (Image Source)


According to BMC Blogs, an enterprise software is a type of application aimed to support or solve the problems of the entire organization. There are certain business processes, such as accounting and finance management, database management, asset management, and billing and payroll, that can be automated or made faster by the enterprise software. To handle the needs of the entire organization, enterprise software has a mechanism for providing various levels of access to its users depending on their role in the organization. 

Depending on the nature and size of your business, you can either buy one off the shelf or create your own. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each option:

  • Buying one off-the-shelf (the same as commercial software listed in the previous section) is the quickest way to get a copy of the application. This is generally cheaper and easier to set up, but oftentimes they allow a limited amount of modifications and as such you may need to modify your processes a bit so the capabilities of the application bought off-the-shelf can be maximized. Additionally, malware exploiting vulnerabilities in the application can affect all its users, including you.
  • If you are part of a large business and both require and afford some sort of secrecy on your business process, then creating your own in-house with a team of programmers may be the best way to do so. The downside is that it usually takes months to create one and is more expensive. (If you're interested in reaping the benefits of in-house apps while avoiding the costs, consider trying Lido!)

There are several types of enterprise software, considering that most business tasks can be automated or expedited using an application. The following are some of the types of applications that business use:

  1. Accounting software
  2. Time tracking software
  3. Project management software
  4. Customer relationship management software
  5. Communication software
  6. Website building software
  7. Payment transaction software
  8. Business management software
  9. Asset management software
  10. Database software
  11. Sales, marketing, and PR software
  12. Enterprise resource planning software


What should we consider in selecting a business software?

A man checking his guides.
A man checking his guides. (Image Source)


The first question you should ask is:

What do I need for my business?

Identifying what your business needs is the first step in selecting an enterprise software.  This will guide you in listing down the features and functionality that you need in the enterprise software that you will use. If your business has a specific need that is not commonly offered by the common enterprise software, this will quickly narrow down your options and easily give you an answer.

There are other things that we should consider in selecting an enterprise software. They are the following:

  1. Pricing: What are the payment terms? Is it rated per user or per business? Is it rated per month or per year? 
  2. Ease of use: How easy is it to learn the software, supervised or unsupervised? Are advanced training available to further enhance the capabilities of your teams?
  3. Customer support: Is 24/7 customer support available? Are there several ways to contact them?
  4. Value for money: Do you get the biggest bang for the buck?

Besides these considerations, there are specific features that you should look for in selecting an enterprise software that depends on the main purpose of the business software. 

For this, we will check four types of enterprise software, which are important to all businesses. They are:

  1. Customer relationship management software
  2. Business management software
  3. Database management software
  4. Marketing automation software

We will learn the functions of these kinds of software, see the benefits it brings to businesses using them, and take note of must-have features that you should look for when finding a suitable one for your business.

Business management software

A business management software gives its users a one-stop-shop system to do a diverse set of processes necessary for businesses to operate, such as administration, procurement, marketing, and sales. 

Scoro lists the following tasks that a business management software should be able to do:

  1. Project & task management
  2. Time management & calendar
  3. Document sharing & collaboration
  4. Sales & CRM
  5. Budget, invoice, and expense management
  6. Business intelligence and dashboards
  7. Accounting and financial reporting
  8. Resource management

According to Capterra, a major business software review site, you will get the following benefits from using a business management software:

  1. One place to manage all core processes of your business
  2. Save time and costs with a single system

To make it easier for you to do these tasks, NTaskManager recommends the following features to look for:

  1. A systematic project workflow and project performance monitor
  2. A way to assign tasks instantly to your team members and make roles transparent
  3. Ability to set task recurrence according to a frequency of your choice
  4. Issue tracking tools that also use smart metrics
  5. Risk documentation
  6. Communication and collaboration tools

Customer relationship management software

A customer relationship management software, often shortened to CRM software, is designed to help the business handle customer relations. SelectHub lists the following functions of a CRM:

  1. Customer contact management
  2. Conversion opportunity management
  3. Lead management
  4. Sales force automation
  5. Sales data management
  6. Customer support automation
  7. Customer satisfaction management

According to Capterra, a CRM software should be able to help you in three ways:

  1. Easy access to customer data
  2. Streamlined process through automation
  3. Actionable insights into business performance and customer behavior

The Blueprint recommends the following features to look out for when selecting a CRM:

  1. Unified view of customers, including their place in the customer life cycle
  2. Data insights and progress towards business goals
  3. Communication and collaboration tools
  4. Cloud-based file storage
  5. Automation tools
  6. Cross-device support
  7. Templates and customization

Database management software

A database management software, often shortened to either database software or to DBMS, is used to store, manage, and manipulate a diverse set of data in a database. A query language is used to do operations with DBMS, including accessing and processing data. 

Bi Talks Bi lists the following functions of a DBMS:

  1. Data dictionary management
  2. Data storage management
  3. Data transformation and presentation
  4. Security management
  5. Backup and recovery management
  6. Data integrity management

A DBMS improves the data management system of the business, through the following ways, as listed by Toppr:

  1. Data Independence
  2. Efficient data access
  3. Data Integrity and security
  4. Data administration
  5. Concurrent access and crash recovery

Talk Business lists down the following features should be included in the DBMS that you will be using:

  1. Automation
  2. ROI management
  3. Results vizualisation
  4. Forecasting strategy
  5. Segmentation and modeling
  6. Insight and analysis
  7. Campaign planning

Marketing automation software

Due to the fast-paced nature of markets today, especially in the virtual world, businesses are increasingly using marketing automation software to enhance their marketing capabilities by automating repetitive marketing tasks. 

A marketing automation software has the following functions, according to Lead Liaison:

  1. Identifying effective campaigns
  2. Identifying quality leads
  3. Improving marketing content

According to Capterra, the following are the benefits of marketing software:

  1. Effective cross-selling and upselling campaigns
  2. Streamlined marketing operations
  3. Scalability in sales seasons

Martech Advisor lists the following features that a marketing automation software must have:

  1. Integration with existing tools
  2. Lead management
  3. Email marketing
  4. Social media automation
  5. Selection of target audience
  6. Analytics and reporting
  7. A/B testing
  8. Usability and set-up
  9. Security
  10. Support

Conclusion

Selecting an application is not a straightforward process... You should always consider the needs of your business first before embarking on this process of selection of the best application for your business. This will inform you of selecting the right application for your business!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
SECTIONS

1. What is an application software?

  1. Commercial software
  2. Shareware
  3. Freeware
  4. Open-source software
  5. Web application
  6. Software as a Service (SaaS)

2. What is an enterprise software?

3. What should we consider in selecting an enterprise software?

  1. Business management software
  2. Customer relationship management software
  3. Database management software
  4. Marketing automation software

4. Conclusion