There’s a reason Marie Kondo is all the rage; most of us can’t seem to get away from clutter. For businesses that clutter can come in the form of extraneous software. As companies grow, many invest in software programs one by one, winding up with a mess of incompatible tools. You might start off by purchasing payroll software and eventually find yourself with four or five HR tools that aren’t integrated. Business software suite developer NetSuite calls it a “software hairball” – a tangle of programs and add-ons that don’t talk to each other and force you to duplicate your efforts. If any of the following signs sound familiar to you, it may be time to upgrade.
Signs you should upgrade to a software suite:
- It’s hard to see a clear picture of what’s happening across your business.
- You spend significant time re-entering or reconciling data.
- You’re losing sales because you can’t move information through the funnel fast enough.
- Your accounting practices are a mess.
- Your IT expenses are through the roof.
The solution? Swap multiple programs for one inclusive software suite. It can lower acquisition and ongoing maintenance costs, make administration easier and promote data sharing among users. NetSuite commissioned a study by Nucleus Research and found that customers who traded in standalone software programs for the company’s ERP sped up financial closings by 50 percent, increased sales productivity by 12.5 percent and increased inventory turns by 50 percent.
If you’re knee-deep in inefficient products, break out the mop and broom. Here’s our room-by-room spring cleaning guide and the suite for each that will send your software hairballs packing.
The Dining Room: Help Desk: CRM SuiteS
Dozens of wine glasses and dessert plates are lurking in there, just like the many self-service, ticketing and analytics tools that make up your help desk. Traditional help desk tools may not integrate with your lead management system, so you don’t know the important details when a customer calls for help. Using a CRM suite help desk puts previous quotes, orders, projects and need-to-know information at your fingertips – and that’s more valuable than your crystal champagne flutes.
The Bathroom: Digital Analytics Web CMS Suites
Half-used bottles of shampoo, expired prescriptions, and that sample tube of cinnamon toothpaste (yuck). Get rid of the products you haven’t used in months by swapping your digital analytics tools for a web CMS suite. Investing in this software suite can stretch your marketing dollars further. You can then spend your budget on employees to analyze and interpret all that data, instead of on outdated tools.
The Basement: IT Service Desk Suites
With that ratty chair and mismatched couch, your man cave looks pretty sad. Trade them in for a sleek leather set, and suddenly your place is the go-to spot for watching the game. It’s the same story with service desk suites. An integrated solution enables you to handle incidents and change requests, provide knowledge management and dig into analytics in a single platform. In short, it’s more powerful than any pile of individual tools.
The family room: crm suites
If your coffee table is piled with old issues of Wired, it’s time to take action. Trading up to a CRM suite makes it simple to purge stale campaigns so you can focus on fresh new ones. CRM software suites keep track of the customer lifecycle from lead to support, and automate marketing tasks. That way, you can easily figure out which campaigns need attention right now – and which are yesterday’s news.
THE Foyer: Email marketing suites
You have mail! Each incoming email to your inbox is cause for another trip to the door. That adds up to a lot of footprints in your foyer. Get a handle on every email that goes through your company’s door with an email marketing suite. An integrated solution allows you to automate tasks like A/B testing and drip strategy, so you’re not running back and forth to the door every couple minutes.
THE BEDROOM CLOSET: SEARH MARKETING WEB CMS SUITES
The number of button-downs in there is overwhelming, just like the number of potential keywords for advertising your business. Pare things down with a search marketing suite. In a single platform, you can review inbound data, evaluate your site’s performance and optimize landing pages. Finally, develop an SEO strategy that’s just the right fit.
THE SUNROOM: Social media suites
The sunroom, with all its windows, is your gateway to the outside world. Similarly, it’s hard to get a good look at who’s engaging with your content, or trying to get your attention to resolve an issue, without the right social media tools. Wipe the slate clean with a social media suite. Different suites allow you to mix social media management, monitoring, advertising and more in one package. Choose the functionality you need, and start seeing your campaigns more clearly.
THE HOME OFFICE: OFFICE SUITES
This is where the work gets done. Office suites roll documents, graphs, spreadsheets and more into a single platform so your desk stays sparkling. Some versions sync files to the cloud automatically to increase your productivity even more.
THE KITCHEN: HR MANAGEMENT SUITES
Let’s be honest: You don’t need six kinds of jelly in your fridge. If you’re dealing with a sticky mess of HR tools, swap them all for an HR management suite that’s tailored to your business’ needs. With capabilities that include recruiting, performance management, e-learning and core HR, this software suite is your secret ingredient for every aspect of talent management.
THE playroom: SUPPLY CHAIN SUITES
Is your toddler’s puzzle strewn across the room? Pull the pieces together with a supply chain suite. These solutions let you manage everything from sourcing to forecasting in one place, giving you better visibility into your supply chain. You still may never figure out how that cow puzzle piece wound up inside the play kitchen, though.
With the right software suite, you can straighten up your stack in no time. Check out our product reviews for more guidance on where to tidy up first.