The COVID-19 crisis has undoubtedly affected the entire world in all possible aspects. Along with the negative health and social implications of the outbreak, economic activity on a global scale was also severely impaired. Small, medium and large businesses worldwide are faced with the challenge of keeping their operations up and running in the midst of the pandemic. Budgets are usually cut in half to make up for losses and a significant portion of the workforce is most likely laid off. In the middle of this mess, chaos tends to ensue within the general management of business operations from communications to accounting.
Technology is clearly an efficient way to solve this, with many entities gradually digitizing their operations. According to a report released by the Connected Commerce Council (3C), 76 percent of small businesses in the United States are now relying on digital tools more than before. But for those that will start from scratch and will only start transitioning to technological solutions due to the pandemic, the awareness and knowledge of helpful software most likely stop at the familiar ones—word processing, presentation making and spreadsheets. Business software has now evolved to integrate multiple functions in one platform to maximize productivity within organizations. More than a short-term solution during the pandemic, reliance on tools such as these can improve operational efficiency in the long run.
Here are five types of software that may help your business function during the pandemic:
Project management and tracking
Tracking the status of your current projects or goals should no longer be taking up too much of your time when they could be used for something more productive. Project-tracking software essentially saves you from manually creating checklists and tables on spreadsheets, as well creating those month-end charts and graphs with maximum effort. These types of programs allow you to schedule, plan and organize projects so that deadlines are reflected and met, and the assigned people are constantly updated. Moreover, this kind of software can generate comprehensive data analyses and reports in one click.
Collaborative video conferencing
With the emergence of instant messaging, video chatting had slowly become a typical way of communicating for anyone with a smartphone, way before the pandemic had even occurred. Considering the limitations imposed by the COVID-19 outbreak, the reliance on the audio-video chatting feature has increased tenfold. However, this feature on the more familiar applications is not the most optimal choice for internal and external business communications. Business concerns necessitate collaborative features such as screen-sharing, annotating and remote control. Collaborative video conferencing collates all these useful features in one program, with the inclusion of a chat feature to cover different ways of communicating.
Delivery management and optimization
Logistics and delivery can get incredibly messy in the middle of the pandemic. Businesses that are transitioning from physical to online stores end up struggling to account for each and every item that arrives and leaves their inventories. Even businesses that have seemingly mastered the nitty-gritty of e-commerce can mix things up when faced with overwhelming levels of customer handling. Delivery management and optimization software can significantly lessen the burden by enabling businesses to organize, track and optimize their delivery operations for smoother flow. This type of program automates logistics processes from order tracking to delivery verification.
Now more than ever, the automation of financial transactions is becoming necessary even for small businesses. And this automation does not end with the input of financial information onto a computer. Financial and accounting software have now developed into smarter systems that allow businesses to manage cash flows and process bills. Payments are sent and received, and invoices are generated outside the limits of traditional finance and accounting measures.
Any functioning team in any business is bound to meet for constant alignment of plans, goals and actions. Even the smallest organization cannot function well if its members are not on the same page at all times. Unfortunately, the pandemic has driven businesses to conduct meetings remotely, with everyone working and meeting from their own homes instead of the workplace. Video conferencing remedies this concern for the most part. But features like screen sharing may be limiting to those who wish to generate a more collective and organized input document-wise. With meeting management solutions, businesses are given the opportunity to have more collaboration within its teams. This type of software does a wide range of collaborative features that make virtual meetings just as immersive and productive as physical ones. Page turning can be synchronized so that you are all literally on the same page during the meeting. Annotations can be shared to all the participants and documents can be updated in real-time.
As stated in the 3C report, a good 80 percent of small businesses are interested in learning about digital tools amidst the pandemic. Utilizing the right software can make or break businesses given the circumstances. You should be able to properly gauge the nature, scale and resources of your business to know if integrating a technological solution is the best option for you. If the software was integrated seamlessly into the system, your business could very much thrive throughout the course of the pandemic and beyond.