What is enterprise software and why is it so important? Put simply, this is the software that enables your core business functions, encompassing a range of user roles.
As your company expands, software that worked in the past might not be enough to keep up with your growing demands. While AI and machine learning can help you stay innovative and agile, enterprise software forms the foundation that supports your everyday processes.
Today, we’re taking a closer look at the basics behind enterprise software and how to get the most out of this investment.
What is Enterprise Software?
As its name implies, enterprise software is any kind of software used by a company that’s far-reaching enough to be called an enterprise. These companies require specialized software that can meet their unique requirements.
A business that’s rapidly expanding requires software that’s flexible and scalable enough to adapt to its changing needs. With the right enterprise software, a business can optimize workflows, increase productivity and build its bottom line.
There are a few different types of enterprise software on the market that are each designed to handle different aspects of your business. For instance, accounting software manages your financial functions, while customer relationship management (CRM) software organizes your account data.
Then, there are centralized platforms that tie these myriad functions together. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is one of them.
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8 Common Types of Enterprise Software
If you’re looking for enterprise software solutions, you’ll quickly find that the options run the gamut. There are many different vendors, each offering systems that appeal to certain industries and company sizes.
You can learn more about some of these vendors in our top 10 ERP systems list, but in this post, we’re talking types of software rather than specific vendors. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common types of software aimed at enterprise-level organizations.
1. Enterprise Resource Planning
How are you currently organizing, streamlining and automating your internal business functions? From accounting and project management to inventory and shipping, you need a solution that organizes this data and makes it readily accessible.
Enter, ERP software. An ERP platform centralizes your core activities into a single database, accessible by everyone in your organization.
Not only does this improve visibility and transparency, but it enables more effective teamwork and collaboration.
While many enterprise systems serve as standalone software solutions, ERP fully integrates all these functions, which connects disparate workflows and optimizes operations.
A few of the departments that can benefit from an ERP solution include:
- Finance and accounting
- Supply chain and warehouse
- Human resources
Long heralded as an ideal solution for large businesses, the ERP realm has recently expanded to support small-to-midsized (SMB) businesses, as well.
For many companies, the accounting functions contained within their ERP system are enough to meet their daily needs. However, others may benefit from standalone, accounting-specific enterprise software.
If your organization is tasked with consolidating and coordinating financial data across different departments, offices and location, this software can offer a consistent, automated approach. Once it’s implemented, managers can easily track every dollar that comes into and goes out of an enterprise.
The following features usually come standard in accounting software solutions:
- General ledger functions
- Accounts payable
- Accounts receivable
- Payroll management
- Tax management
3. Customer Relationship Management
CRM software is focused on your outward, customer-focused initiatives. More specifically, it’s meant to help you cultivate and nurture leads, and then transform those leads into clients and long-term accounts.
When all your customer data is in one place, customer service levels improve, along with retention rates. You can use customer data to create tailored content, delivering personalized messages that motivate your customers on a deeper level than generic appeals.
In addition to campaign management, other features you’ll find in a CRM software solution include:
- Lead and contact management
- Reporting and analytics
- Pipeline management
- Sales automation
- Database management
4. Enterprise Asset Management
Enterprise asset management (EAM) software helps you keep track of all the physical assets that your company owns. Taking the time to inventory and manage these investments can help you extend their lifespan.
With EAM software, you can stay up-to-date on scheduled maintenance activities, meet compliance requirements and more.
A few of the features to look for include:
- Inventory management
- Work order tracking
- Materials management
- Asset lifecycle management
5. Business Intelligence and Reporting
With so much data at your fingertips, you need a way to harness it to make beneficial changes within your organization. With business intelligence (BI) software, you can analyze data across various departments to quickly make smarter, more informed business decisions.
The most dynamic BI software includes visualization tools and customizable dashboards that allow you to easily adjust the data you’re viewing. This software also includes built-in templated reports for creating forecasts and projections.
To select the best BI system for your company, we recommend looking for features such as:
- Document management
- Data visualization
- Big data integration
- Reporting and analytics
6. Product Lifecycle Management
To stay competitive and top of your customers’ minds, innovation is essential. As your company brainstorms new offerings, product lifecycle management (PLM) software can help you organize these efforts.
With this centralized platform, employees can create new designs or sketches, and post them for team members to review and annotate.
Employees can also keep track of all the costs incurred to bring an idea to life. Using one database, changes are carried through the entire product lifecycle and everyone is working in real time.
If you need PLM software, the following features are ones to prioritize:
- Document management
- Bills of material (BOM) management
- Configuration management
- CAD file management
- Project management
7. Supply Chain Management
While your ERP platform can help you oversee many supply chain functions, more specialized organizations may require a standalone supply chain management (SCM) software solution.
The features in SCM software help you track a product from the point of order until final customer delivery. With this tool, you have deep visibility into every step of the production process, allowing more control over operations.
With these insights, leaders can manage sales orders more effectively. They can also oversee manufacturing, materials ordering, distribution and other key steps.
When evaluating SCM software, look for these key functions:
- Supply chain planning and monitoring
- Supply chain analytics
- Warehouse management
- Inventory management
- Sourcing and procurement activities
- Order processing
8. Human Capital Management
Human capital management (HCM) software helps managers keep track of your company’s most important asset: your employees. It helps streamline and organize the activities that HR managers are tasked with overseeing, such as recruiting, onboarding and training.
Often, these activities were conducted manually, which is not only time-consuming but leaves room for manual error. Automating core HR tasks ensures that all data is entered correctly and in real time.
Managers can use these insights to learn more about employee performance, timeliness, productivity and more. They can also discern when employees are most needed, which can aid in shift scheduling.
Managers can also use HCM to familiarize new employees with their company’s products and procedures.
A few of the core benefits of HCM software include:
- Job applicant tracking
- Talent acquisition and management
- Employee benefits administration
- Job onboarding procedures
- Internal staff training
- Employee time and attendance monitoring
Find the Right Enterprise Software Solution
What is enterprise software? While there are many different types designed to meet a variety of needs, they all have one common aim: to make work as easy and efficient as possible.
Whether you’re seeking support for an ERP, CRM or HCM initiative, we can help you select and implement the software you need. Our team of ERP consultants is well-versed in all the above software solutions, and we’ll work with you to identify the functions that can help you reach your goals.
Contact us below for a free consultation and let’s get started.