It’s hard to imagine businesses running smoothly without technology. Yes, teams did it back in the day. But now, tech is essential to a company’s operations. It can enhance competitive market position, optimize processes, and strengthen defenses against cybersecurity threats. In short, the right tech tools help companies stand out while supporting day-to-day needs.
Yet choosing the most beneficial software is where it gets murky. Business leaders may recognize a process could be made more efficient. Maybe the team says an application makes their jobs hard to do. Perhaps competitors are getting a leg up, and employees aren’t as productive or innovative as they could be.
When it’s time for you to select a tech stack that fits, it helps to prioritize your list. Here are six tools that can enable your business to succeed.
1. Contract Management Software
Contracts may not be an exciting topic. But if you’re in business, you’re going to create and sign them. You’ll also need to manage documents between multiple vendors, clients, and employees. For example, sales will want to collaborate with the legal department when drafting service agreements. There’s also the logistics of capturing signatures, distributing copies, and managing document revisions.
Without effective contract management software, all these processes become challenging to track. In addition, they’re tedious and prone to errors. Contract management applications keep documents in one place, so access and organization are simple. Repetitive tasks, such as file storage, are now automated. Plus, cross-functional teams can move contracts through to completion more quickly since a centralized platform facilitates collaboration.
2. Network Vulnerability Scanners
Every business with IT-related resources requires more than a good anti-malware program. Unfortunately, tools like firewalls and antivirus software aren’t enough to keep out the bad guys anymore. Cybercriminals’ tactics are becoming more sophisticated, to put it mildly. Phishing attempts aside, it’s not unusual for malware to fly under the radar of the applications designed to detect it.
For one thing, cybercriminals are creating new malicious programs faster than ever. Around 200,000 novel malware apps come out on a slow day. When widespread outbreaks happen, the number can increase to a million. Network vulnerability scanning software digs deeper than conventional anti-malware programs. These apps identify weaknesses in your network configurations, prioritize security risks, and find hidden malware.
3. Collaboration Tools
Gathering around the water cooler is increasingly a thing of the past. Not only are teams now split between locations and time zones, but they’re also busier. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 11 million job openings at the end of December 2022. Employees holding down the fort in companies with labor shortages are probably taking on additional responsibilities.
When groups are hybrid, remote, or stretched too thin, teamwork can take a nosedive. If your employees don’t have collaboration tools, they’ll face project management challenges. They might also feel less connected to the organization and their roles. Collaboration software can tie instant messaging, videoconferencing, document sharing, and task management into one platform. These apps sync the efforts of remote teams and establish a single source of truth.
4. Time Clock Applications
Do you have hourly staff spread across multiple locations, including remote employees? You probably have a solid business case for structuring specific roles this way. However, hourly pay structures can complicate your payroll.
Staff members must record their time on the job and when out for meal periods. They also have to enter paid leave requests to cover absences. Web-based time clock applications streamline payroll processes by letting employees record their hours from various locations. As a fail-safe, managers can review and approve those entries before paychecks get cut. The software can also send alerts for schedule exceptions and missing hours.
5. Customer Survey Platforms
Customers are the lifeblood of your business. It won’t be easy to meet client expectations if you can’t keep a pulse on what they think. While you could pay market research firms to survey markets, this can get expensive. Plus, you don’t have as much control over how an external partner collects and analyzes the data.
Survey software makes the costs of collecting customer insights less prohibitive. Automation capabilities send client surveys after critical milestones, such as purchasing a product or contacting customer service. Some platforms automatically measure customer sentiment, supply questions via templates, and sync with customer relationship management apps. You keep in-house control while targeting clients familiar with processes you may want to fix.
6. IT Help Desk Software
Most of your staff will have tech support needs. You might have an internal IT department or rely on a managed services provider. Regardless, employees must have a way to initiate their support requests. Those responsible for the requests should also have a way to manage and track them.
Help desk software saves the day by letting staff members open tickets. Say someone’s laptop starts freezing randomly. They don’t think much of it until the occurrences become frequent enough to impact their workday. Help desk applications streamline the ticket process by pre-populating the employee’s name, email address, and assigned machine number. The ticket automatically routes to a tech who can reach out to troubleshoot and solve the problem.
Essential Business Technology
Thriving companies are efficient, competitive, and innovative. The teams who run them stay at the top of their game by modernizing processes with technology-driven tools. Although every business demands different solutions, there are broad similarities in operational needs. By adding the tools discussed here to your tech toolbox, you’ll streamline workflows and eliminate the inefficiencies that can block success.