The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend has been picking up steam for some time now. More companies are finding that they can reduce expenses and improve productivity by allowing their employees to access company materials with their personal devices. According to a recent study issued by iGR, titled "SMBs: The Ongoing BYOD Trend," 62 percent of IT managers reported having an official BYOD policy in place at their companies. Furthermore, 73 percent of respondents said that although their company does not officially sanction BYOD practices, it has not disallowed the use of personal technology either.
With BYOD becoming a more common occurrence, businesses should consider integrating that practice into their ERP systems. One major benefit would be allowing employees to access company information at any time from their smartphones, tablets or laptops, according to CloudTweaks. This feature could be especially helpful for employees who frequently work offsite. For instance, sales team members could use a mobile device to tap into company records to provide potential clients with information on a business' operations that might convince them to begin using its services.
Companies may also find that implementing BYOD policies with their ERP software could save them money down the road. If a business needed to make a significant IT hardware upgrade in the near future, those costs could be mitigated by allowing employees to use their personal devices instead.
With CRM software, organizations across multiple sectors have a resource to streamline workflows and improve employee productivity. The technology has become so popular that it has now become the top priority for enterprise application spending across the globe, according to a recent Gartner report. However, with any new technological implementation, managers may meet some resistance. Many people simply do not want to shake up the status quo, even when current methods of operation are inefficient and costing a business money. There are several steps managers can take to encourage teams to adopt CRM software.
CIO.com recently outlined methods that companies can take to bring employees on board with CRM solutions. Managers should stress the advantages provided by implementing a new system. For instance, employee workloads can be eased with a streamlined workflow. Many marketing, sales and customer service duties can be consolidated and in some instances automated. Sales teams could especially benefit from CRM software. By creating a centralized database of client lead information, salespersons will have access to a wealth of insight that they can use to create more effective pitches.
It is important that managers take the time to ease employees into a new system. If they become overwhelmed with all the new features, they can be deterred from adopting it. By giving employees enough time to slowly adapt to a new CRM solution, they can begin to appreciate the available benefits.
CRM software has proven to be a valuable resource for businesses across multiple industries. Using this technology, enterprises can consolidate and integrate a number of operations as well as deploy data analytics tools to further enhance their business. Government agencies have even found success employing CRM solutions. With so many varied applications, CRM tools can benefit just about any organization, including schools.
Campus Technology reported that Coker College in Hartsville, South Carolina, recently announced its plans to launch a CRM system to enhance its student retention and enrollment processes. School officials expect the software to significantly impact its admissions office's operations by automating much of its workflow. By removing many tedious manual duties, the CRM tool should free up staff for more pressing projects.
"[The CRM software] has allowed our staff to work smarter, not harder, which means that they can concentrate their efforts on ensuring that our recruiting program remains a highly personalized one," Director of Admissions Adam Connolly said in a press release.
For instance, the system has automated the school's bulk mailing campaigns, reducing the amount of time employees spend stuffing envelopes and mailing letters.
Administrators expect the new system to enhance their student recruitment and retention efforts as well. With more prospective students opting to attend community colleges over four-year universities in recent years, this is an especially useful application. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, nearly half of all undergraduate students in the United States attend community colleges. Because of financial constraints brought on by the Great Recession, more students have enrolled in community colleges in recent years, according to a National Student Clearinghouse Research Center study.
The CRM software has allowed administrators to better manage their recruitment efforts, optimize their communications strategies and track a student's progress through the admissions process. School officials can identify potential issues early on and correct them if need be.
CRM software solutions have helped businesses across multiple industries enhance their operations. Sales, marketing and customer retention efforts can all be consolidated, monitored and integrated with sophisticated CRM tools. The technology has become so pervasive that Gartner recently predicted that CRM software will be the top priority for companies investing in enterprise applications in 2013. With its wide range of functions and applications, it was only a matter of time before the technology drew the attention of other sectors.
According to a recently issued press release, several government agencies have enhanced their operability by employing CRM solutions. Many departments face the same challenges as private businesses: appeasing members of the public, spreading an effective message and managing expenses. It stands to reason that the same software tools that have succeeded in the business world could provide similar benefits for government agencies.
For instance, the Commonwealth of Virginia has increased department efficiency by replacing its old management system with CRM software. The amount of time needed to process citizen service requests and inquiries has been significantly reduced and has freed up staff resources for other vital duties. The City of Charlotte, North Carolina, used CRM tools to facilitate its management duties as host of the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Officials were able to automate workflows and streamline the event's application process, reducing the amount of maintenance and oversight needed from IT members.
Public safety departments have also benefited from CRM tools. The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania replaced several case management systems with a single consolidated network, for example. The new software reduced the number of duplicative data entries and allowed information to be more easily accessed and shared between agencies.
The tools available in state-of-the-art CRM software have many positive applications. From enhancing business operations to reducing government redundancy, the technology can provide a multitude of benefits.
CRM software tools have provided businesses with a number of resources to increase operations. Using CRM, companies can consolidate and streamline their sales, marketing and customer communication processes. With the advent and rise of social media, software has to accommodate the changing landscape of customer relations, integrating features that monitor a business' social media presence and interactions. These can be great tools to ensure that a company's social media marketing campaigns are as effective as possible.
Social media has become an essential aspect of any marketing effort. According to a report released last year by Social Media Examiner, 85 percent of marketers engage in the format in order to increase business exposure. The social media world, however, is filled with pitfalls. Any errors made by a business can be shared and amplified in the blink of an eye. That is why it is imperative that businesses have a focused plan in place when launching a social media campaign.
Establishing a basic social CRM policy before deploying any media campaign is essential, according to eCommerce Times. Employees who engage with potential clients online need to understand how their behavior reflects on the company as a whole. Equally important is ensuring that social media staff know when and where to redirect conversations with other users.
Companies should also have a plan in place if and when their social CRM managers leave. If these employees are overseeing the entire social media operation, replacing them will be no easy feat. A plan to transition responsibilities is needed so businesses are not left scrambling to salvage their social media campaigns when key figures exit. In addition, those former employees may still have access to blogs, Twitter accounts and a company Facebook page. Regardless of what terms an employee left on, it is imperative that the company prevents him or her from accessing and altering publicly viewable content.
As businesses expand, the growing number of departments and operations can become overwhelming. Many companies struggle to monitor each facet of their enterprise, much less ensure their output is being maximized. For many beleaguered businesses, ERP software has proven to be an essential tool for consolidating resources and streamlining workflow. With quality software, companies can automate, monitor and enhance a variety of functions including supply chain management, accounting and sales. An Australian construction firm recently transferred its resources to an ERP platform, and found numerous benefits.
Brickworks Building Products was the subject of a recent case study on the effectiveness of ERP implementation. With a staff of more than 1200 people, operations spanning 65 sites across Australia and New Zealand and a distribution network stretching into Southeast Asia and Middle East, the company has a massive enterprise to oversee. Redundancy, however, marred the business, as invoices were typically processed and reprocessed manually across a number of departments.
"We did a process flow analysis and found that an invoice was generally touched eight times by our staff," General Manager Finance Damien Frost said. "We had over a dozen staff doing data entry in accounts payable alone, our processes were years behind where we needed to be."
To increase efficiency, Brickworks implemented an ERP system with an automated accounts payable solution. Employees can use the new software to approve purchase orders online, which are then automatically matched with their corresponding invoices. All invoice and purchase order data is now consolidated and stored on a single finance system. Information can be easily accessed at any time with the network's classification processes.
Implementation of the new system has resulted in a third of all invoices automatically being processed without the need for an employee to manually review them. This has not only sped up the payment process, but has also increased productivity, as employees spend less time reviewing documents or following up on order and payment statuses.
Delimiter reviewed the case study and found that deploying these methods was an effective solution to invoicing problems. Integrating ERP software that can automate complex tasks can greatly improve a company's efficiency.
The backbone of any business is its supply chain. Regardless of their industry, companies depend on their ability to efficiently move products with an absolute minimum of disruptions. From production to delivery, businesses must be certain that every link in their supply chain is operating at full capacity. With the advent of the ecommerce market, that connection has been increasingly strained, as operations become less centralized. This is why so many companies use ERP software to monitor every phase of their product delivery model. That model's status quo has seen some changes recently which could require companies to rethink their supply chain needs.
With ecommerce business growing, online vendors are witnessing an increasing demand for their services as well as an growing strain on their supply chain. Andrew Underwood, partner at U.K.-based logistics firm KPMG, told Supply Management that many companies are expecting their distribution needs to increase in the near future.
"Organi[z]ations are feeling that it is time to start thinking about how they would be able to respond to an increase in demand and still death the level of volatility that is out there," he said. "A number are really preparing for an upturn."
Further straining the demands of ecommerce supply chains has been the recent upsurge of same-day delivery services. If this model catches on in the ecommerce market, vendors may have to rethink every step of their delivery method. According to Area Development contributor Kris Bjorson, these considerations could include making changes to companies' distribution centers to account for increasing delivery demands. With such drastic alterations possibly looming, businesses should ensure that they have the best ERP software solutions available to monitor their operations. As product distribution demands grow, accurately tracking every phase of the supply chain will become more essential.
Companies today have many available resources that can enhance their operating processes. Many enterprises have streamlined various facets of their business with CRM software. This tool can consolidate critical information regarding marketing and sales onto a single platform. One resource present in most current iterations of CRM software that businesses may not be taking full advantage of is social media. The top-flight CRM software available today allows companies to integrate their marketing and sales efforts with social media. Businesses that overlook the potential of social media are missing out on a great opportunity to enhance their customer relations and enterprise operations.
Many organizations have implemented a social media program, but they typically do not go beyond basic marketing efforts. According to a study conducted by the Duke University Fuqua School of Business, social media campaigns will account for 21.6 percent of marketing department spending in the United States over the next five years. While this is certainly a useful application of the format, there is so much more that can be done. Simplify360 CEO Bhupendra Khanal recently stated that the real value of social media is in the burgeoning field of big data, CXOToday reported. CRM software-based data analytics tools can be applied to social media figures to glean a number of meaningful insights.
For instance, companies could track which types of leads were more likely to be converted into clients. If more valuable leads were being generated through social media marketing, internal teams could allocate their resources to optimize those efforts.
Companies can also gain real time insight into the mindset of consumers using big data tools. By employing data analytics programs, businesses can see trends as they are happening, possibly even beforehand. With a clearer understanding of where their industry is and where it is going, companies that take advantage of the big data resources provided by CRM software will have a distinct edge over their competitors.
One of the unfortunate consequences of the recent recession has been an increase in the amount of debt taken on by Americans. According to the Associated Press, more than 75 percent of all families in the United States owe some level of debt, with 40 percent owing more than $50,000. Credit reporting agency TransUnion found that the average credit card debt per borrower grew 4.9 percent in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the same period a year earlier, reported the AP. Debt in the United States is not only rising, but Americans are failing to make payments on money owed as well. The agency reported that within that same timeframe, the rate of credit card late payments reached 0.75 percent, an increase from 0.71 percent in the third quarter of 2011.
With more debt being accrued and more Americans failing to make headway on the debt they owe, it is imperative that businesses protect themselves from potential financial risks. The National Association of Christian Women in Business suggested that Implementing accounts receivable software could be a viable solution for companies concerned about maintaining their cash flow. Many enterprises find that extending credit is an inevitable aspect of their business. With accounts receivable software, those businesses can accurately track the amount of money owed by their clientele and monitor how often payments are made.
Once a customer has been extended some form of credit, he or she may attempt to extend that line either by adding more than was initially agreed upon or drawing out payments. Quality accounts receivable software will provide businesses with all the information they need to ascertain if customers are good risks for extending credit. Having a complete record of every past payment made can help companies decide to make changes to their arraignments.
As a business' clientele grows, tracking the amount of funds coming in can be an arduous process. When taking into account customers who have credit extended to them, this task can be nearly insurmountable if done manually. By using accounts receivable technology, companies will have an entire record of all the funds that have flowed in and how much more businesses can expect to receive within a certain timeframe. With this useful tool at their disposal, companies will have an accurate and thorough knowledge of their cash flow.
CRM software has become an invaluable tool for countless businesses. The ability to consolidate and coordinate various customer relation functions has facilitated many marketing and sales initiatives. With these benefits, companies are investing in CRM software more than ever before. According to a recent study published by Gartner, CRM has surpassed ERP as the top application software investment priority for businesses. The downside to good CRM software is that the integrated functionality and efficient operations management can lead marketing and sales teams to become complacent, expecting the program to do all the heavy lifting. The problem is, the program is only going to be as useful as the data that it can access. Substandard information will lead to poor results, regardless of the application's quality.
Some businesses have overwhelmed their CRM systems with waves of what 1to1 Media contributor Gary Halliwell called "bad data". This type of information is any data that obfuscates a business' record system. For instance, storing contact information about a client's former employees is useless and can potentially lead to costly errors. Having incomplete and or even incorrect contact information can also prevent sales and marketing teams from effectively engaging potential clients. Duplicate entries, meanwhile, can lead to a contact's information being spread out among multiple records, resulting in the system missing vital information when it runs database searches.
To optimize CRM software efforts, businesses should take every opportunity to clean up their contact records, updating incomplete or incorrect entries and removing obsolete or duplicate ones. With more accurate information, marketing teams can launch more targeted campaigns and salesmen can engage potential clients more effectively. CRM software is a valuable resource, but it requires good information to produce quality results.
Customer retention is essential to the operation of a successful business. Although a lot of marketing emphasis is placed on reaching new clients, the largest portion of a company's profit will come from repeat customers. According to a report recently released by Adobe, returning visitors account for 41 percent of ecommerce business while only making up 8 percent of total traffic. While some companies are busying themselves chasing new clients and driving up website traffic, the better source of profit lies within their pool of repeat customers. CRM software is a vital component in any operation's efforts to increase their customer retention rates.
CRM tools can provide businesses with a one-stop shop for their customer relations needs, according to Business 2 Community. A quality CRM service will retain customer information within a database that can be accessed by company employees at any time. Information such as what products a customer has historically purchased as well as how often they have been made can be provided to sales staff and customer service representatives. With this functionality, companies can better appeal to a client's specific needs and offer him or her a more personalized experience. In addition, by creating more accurate customer profiles, businesses can give more appropriate service pitches. Sales teams can run the risk of scaring off a client if they push too hard for products or services that do not meet that customer's needs.
Companies can also use CRM software to track customer management efforts. By keeping a record of every facet of a client's experience, including marketing, sales and services, businesses will have a better understanding of his or her level of satisfaction. Companies can use these tools to identify shortcomings in their retention strategy. For instance, executives may see that many clients are being brought in and sold on initial services, but follow up contact is lacking. Businesses can ensure that at every stage, customer needs are being met, thereby cultivating brand loyalty.
Businesses are increasingly recognizing the benefits that can be reaped from an extensive CRM system. The advancement of cloud and mobile technology along with data analytics have served to further enhance the potential for companies to engage customers and attract clients. The modern incarnation of CRM software provides businesses with the resources needed to launch an effective customer communication and retention service. With the increased availability of sophisticated CRM systems, companies are investing more heavily in the technology.
Gartner recently released a report on current IT spending trends across the globe, IDG's Chris Kanaracus reported. The study found that CRM software was the most cited priority for companies investing in enterprise applications over the next two years. According to the analyst firm, a burgeoning interest in bringing on new clients and maintaining customer satisfaction and retention levels is driving worldwide interest in CRM software. Cloud Computing contributor James Bourne's analysis of the report found that CRM had surpassed ERP as the number one priority for application software investment.
The increasing global interest in CRM software reflects the necessity of providing quality customer service to ensure the continued success of a business. With the proper system in place, companies can stay in contact with their clients at any time over a variety of formats. By integrating CRM software with a business' social media accounts, sales managers can directly target potential customers. Email utilities can also allow businesses to more effectively monitor and analyze communication efforts.
In addition, data analytics applications can provide sales teams with more complete client profiles, allowing them to more effectively engage both current and prospective customers as well as appeal to their needs. With mobile capabilities, this essential information can be accessed by employees in the office or on the road. Investing in quality CRM software can immeasurably benefit businesses looking to increase their customer service efforts.
Companies worldwide have turned to CRM solutions to provide them with the tools needed to engage clients and ensure customer satisfaction. Gartner's forecasts show CRM sales growing at a compound annual growth rate of nine percent by 2016, Forbes reported. Total spending on the technology will exceed $18 billion by that time. For many businesses, once initial market penetration has been achieved, the next goal is reaching out to new customers while retaining the ones who have already been brought into the fold. CRM software can greatly facilitate those efforts, but there are several factors to consider when launching such a campaign.
Business 2 Community contributor Dawn Altnam recently outlined several steps companies should take to ensure the implementation of their new CRM project is as successful as possible. Deploying the software that matches the needs of a business is crucial. Executives and company heads should ensure that the product they decide on has all the resources needed for a comprehensive CRM initiative. Mobile access, social media integration and the ability to launch marketing campaigns are all features that can benefit businesses operating in the modern marketplace. Companies interested in these features should ensure their vendor provides them beforehand. Once the software becomes integrated into business operations, the process to replace it with a completely new system can cost both time and money.
Altnam also suggested that companies bring their employees up to speed on the operations of a new system prior to its launch. Customer support and sales teams, in particular, should be comfortable with the available functions of a new CRM system in order to provide clients with the best possible service and to benefit a company's customer recruitment efforts. It may take some time for personnel to get used to a new system, but once the transition is completed, the business will have an invaluable new tool at its disposal.
Businesses are increasingly finding that they require cloud functionality from their ERP systems. With the rising focus on mobility and the spread of BYOD policies in the workplace, many companies are looking to receive the same operational control regardless of whether managers and executives are away from the office or onsite. Cloud-based ERP software can offer businesses an integrated system in which their various departmental operations are consolidated into one convenient system. The mobility of cloud technology allows employees to access this vital information even when they are not standing in front of their office computers. According to Manufacturing Digital contributor Pat Garrehy, cloud-based ERP solutions can save companies money as well, by reducing IT expenses. Implementing this type of software can greatly increase employee productivity and enhance business operations.
Before integrating a new system, there are some factors that prospective companies should first consider. CloudTweaks recently outlined the preparations businesses should take when implementing a cloud-based ERP system. It is essential that executives know beforehand exactly what functions they will require from an ERP product. Finding out after a service has been paid for and deployed that it does not completely meet a business' needs is an expensive realization.
On the company's end, leaders need to assess their readiness for implementing the new system. If the current staff is unprepared to operate an integrated ERP network, it may be wise to bring on new employees with more experience who can help facilitate the transition. In addition, business leaders should consider what critical information they want placed on a cloud server and which employees or outside business partners will have access to it. Protocols for cloud security should also already be established when the network goes online.
What separates a good business from a great operation is often exemplary customer relations. It is widely known that investing resources toward recruiting new clients is much higher in contrast with retaining existing ones. Perhaps no industry is more aware of the need for customer retention than the banking sector. According to a study conducted by Ernst & Young, 55 percent of consumers in the United States reported having less confidence in banks than previously. Building customer trust requires a dedicated company-wide effort to engage clientele. Deploying a CRM solution can further facilitate these goals.
Forbes contributor Chad Hamblin recently identified the benefits CRM software can offer banking institutions. The focus of any CRM campaign should be placed on understanding customer needs and addressing their concerns. Using CRM software, banks can create a profile of existing and potential customers for staff to reference when attempting to offer their services. Financial centers receive clients from all walks of life with many different financial situations. It is immensely beneficial for bankers to be able to more quickly ascertain the specific needs of a customer so they can begin providing the most appropriate services to them. For example, Hungarian MKB Bank saw major performance increases after implementing a CRM solution. The bank was reportedly able to decrease customer churn by five percent and increase the profit gained from the most valuable customer segments by 20 percent.
CRM software that is compatible with mobile devices will further enhance a bank staff's ability to serve clients, as they can quickly access the most up-to-date customer profiles at any time. Bankers will be aware of any changes to a client's financial situation and can offer the most beneficial services. By addressing customer concerns quickly and effectively, financial centers can maintain ideal customer retention levels.