Need business software? Single-Purpose vs. Business Platform
SMBs are evolving and they’re looking to technology to improve efficiency and to supplement their core competitive advantages.
The global labor market is rapidly changing with remote work becoming the new normal, a process that was further accelerated by the global effect of COVID-19, and it is driving businesses towards adoption of new digital technologies. This ‘movement’ is also driving those companies that never considered business software before to quickly adapt by adopting it.
In order to achieve this they must find, implement, and adopt software in a relatively short time span, while also ensuring that the solutions they choose not only work well for their business, but ultimately satisfies their core business needs. Key solutions that comprise the core ‘software platform’ for many businesses include CRM, task and project management, customer support, email marketing, and workflow automation among others.
While selecting and adopting new digital tools can be an enlightening and massively beneficial undertaking, it often isn’t easy and comes with its own challenges:
Larger businesses have a choice of business platforms from major vendors such as Oracle, SAP, etc., that fully integrate different parts of their business operation. Smaller businesses can’t afford such solutions.
There are only a few comprehensive business management platforms designed specifically for the global SMB market, such as Monday.com, Zoho One and BlueCamroo to name a few, and they are overshadowed by an overwhelming number of single-purpose applications. So, while there is plenty to choose from, that profusion of choice can make anyone’s head hurt.
Smaller businesses usually piece together their ‘business platforms’ using multiple single-purpose applications from different vendors. While this approach can work for some, in most cases, it is unnecessary, cumbersome, costly, and inefficientt.
Stich-it, or Ditch-it and Switch-it?
There is plethora of single-purpose business software applications and just a few fully integrated and affordable business software solutions available to small-and-medium-sized businesses globally. This creates a genuine dilemma for SMBs suggesting two distinct paths to be adopted for their businesses.
One, the most common and the easiest in the eyes of many, is to utilize and to subscribe to as many single-purpose applications as are essential to a business by combining multiple stand-alone solutions with separate subscription arrangements and disconnected data sources in the process.
On average, businesses utilize as many as 20 different single-purpose applications to serve them, which, depending on their budget and/or internal skills, could be to some degree integrated with each other.
Generally, the most used single-purpose business software applications in the small and medium businesses are:
- Sales Tracking, Nurturing and Analysis
- Task Management
- Time Tracking and Billing
- Payment Processing
- Project Management
- Resource Management
- Budgeting and Budget Tracking
- Expense Management
- Workflow or Business Process Management
- Social Media Monitoring
- Email Management
- Email Marketing
- Customer Support
- Team Collaboration
- Marketing Automation
- File and Document Management
- Website Builder
- Landing Page Creator
… among others
Thus far, this ‘stitching’ approach is the most common among SMBs, and it can definitely work very well for some, however in most cases, and when not implemented properly, it can affect their efficiency and inadvertently impede their growth.
The other way, which is rapidly gaining acceptance, is to select an integrated comprehensive business solution designed specifically for the SMB market, which can replace several single-purpose applications (not necessarily all). This type of solution can be implemented and managed in a cost-effective way while delivering much better information transparency throughout the entire business, improving efficiency, and ultimately resulting in increased profitability.
In short, there is a growing need for comprehensive business platforms which offer SMBs the scope and whole-business approach of much larger systems, yet are delivered in a much more manageable manner, and at a much lower cost.
Advantages of working with integrated Business Management Platforms like BlueCamroo
- Lower subscription cost over subscribing to multiple single-purpose applications
- Ability to choose-and-pay for features within one system
- Easier for administrators to organize, set up, manage, and maintain a single system
- All features and data sources are internally connected allowing for data to flow through seamlessly, without having to rely solely on 1st or 3rd party integrations
- Minimize data security challenges inherent to multiple disconnected data sources
- Replaces multiple disconnected mobile apps with a single mobile app
- Easy to adopt across the entire company as it can grow with the company’s increasing needs while supporting many areas of a business
- Very effective within SMBs where employees wear many hats
- One system and one interface to learn and to work with
- No switching between multiple systems
- One centralized database simplifies access to information
- Automation can be defined for any workflow process to be managed by one system
- Offers a 360° view of customers
- Delivers superior transparency for managers, offering an inside view of all business activities within the company
That said, there are always be advocates gauging and vouching for either approach. Yet, as with anything in business, the ‘education’ could be a costly endeavor for some.
A cluster of stitched-together applications
is hardly a match for a solution designed and built to work as ONE!
About the Author: Tomek Maszkiewicz is co-founder and CEO of BlueCamroo, a comprehensive business management software designed specifically for SMBs that combines many essential business services in a single, easily adoptable, and affordable business solution.